Downers Grove North High School junior Anika Oplanic was selected to present her research project in the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition’s (ISTC) Student Series as part of their Mentor Matching Engine program. Oplanic’s presentation, “The Relationship Between Disease and Demographics,” connects evidence between demographic factors and the likelihood of developing a series of diseases.
“I didn’t realize my research project would evolve into what it is now when I started it last November,” said Oplanic. “Thanks to insight from my mentor, I adjusted my presentation based on the new research coming in when COVID-19 hit our country.”
North High Science Teacher Lindsay Panopoulos tasked students in her Research Topics in Earth Science class with an independent research project based on their own interests and to create something new, such as a prototype or action plan. Since Oplanic’s research was related more to people, she created a Buzzfeed Quiz for users to find out their rating of developing a disease based on their demographics.
“It was impressive to see Anika’s project shift from being science-based into being social/cultural-based by looking into healthcare access around the world, especially during the current pandemic,” Panopoulos said. “Anika’s work ethic is unparalleled and we’re proud of what she has accomplished this year.”
Oplanic was nominated by Panopoulos and her mentor, Renee DuBois of the American Medical Association, to present her research project to ISTC. Oplanic was one of 20 students selected as presenters from hundreds of applications submitted throughout the state. Typically, students are invited to present their research in downtown Chicago to other students, teachers and mentors. Since the program couldn’t take place in person, Oplanic’s presentation was shared on the Illinois Science and Technology Institute’s Facebook page.
To learn more about the ISTC Mentor Matching Engine, click here. To learn more about the Downers Grove North High Science Department, contact Department Chair Mike Heinz at firstname.lastname@example.org.