H/Student Excellence Award Winner: Elizabeth Caso

Student Excellence Award Winner: Elizabeth Caso

Elizabeth has been interested in medicine and music since she was young, and is always eager to learn and challenge herself.  She started out working on anatomy activities, continually expanding on her knowledge.  Her passions were solidified when she attended the six week NYU GSTEM program and began conducting research on microbubbles.  Elizabeth did her research at the Columbia Ultrasound Elasticity and Imaging Laboratory with the help of mentor Dr. Antonis Poulipoulos, and wrote a paper on her findings, presenting her work at the GSTEM Symposium.  She received an A on her NYU transcript, and the paper she co-authored is in the process of publishing in “Frontiers in Physics – Medical Physics and Imaging”.

This was not the first time Elizabeth pursued further education in her field—she is a member of the Biomedical Sciences Academy, where she has earned over twenty Rutgers University credits in courses including Dynamics of Healthcare, Anatomy and Physiology, and Medical Terminology.  She participated in the Rutgers WISE program and won the Emperor Science Award, which is part of a cancer research program funded by Stand Up to Cancer and PBS LearningMedia.   Elizabeth is also a member of her school’s chapter of HOSA-Future Health Professionals, and won first place in the Biomedical Laboratory Science Competition in New Jersey and advanced to the International Leadership Conference in Florida.

Elizabeth loves playing piano, and is the principal pianist in her school’s jazz ensemble.  She accompanies school concerts and throughout the year, and performs by audition at the annual Prism Concert.  In addition, she is involved in her church’s Music Ministry, and began accompanying masses and the church choir.  Elizabeth’s love for music carries into theater as well, as she is part of her school’s International Thespian Honor Society troupe, and performs in their fall play and spring musical.  She also does volunteer work, as the team captain for Luau for Life, a Relay for Life Team.  In the past two years, her team has raised $8,000.00, and she raised over $2,500.00 personally for cancer research.

Elizabeth is incredibly passionate about patient care, medical research, music, and science and is driven to create a better world—all of this has led her towards her goal of becoming a physician-researcher.

In her own words…

“My first batch of microbubbles seemed to be a mistake rather than a masterpiece of science. Nondescript vials of clear liquid sat on the lab bench in front of me, and it was not until I activated them that I saw I had not made an error. The once unassuming vials now were filled with thick white foam that seemed ready to bubble out from the container. I was elated. I proved to myself and my peers that I could succeed in the lab, and found joy while doing so. When I left my lab that day, I was so thrilled I ran down all nineteen flights of stairs.”

“Medicine and music have always been in my blood. Even before I raced into kindergarten to tell my teacher everything I read the night before about the different components of the circulatory system, I knew I wanted to be a doctor, and even before I ever touched its keys, I knew I wanted to play piano. Music and STEM, working in musical counterpoint, have been the driving forces of learning in my life. The mathematics of music were revealed as I learned to count and keep musical time, and the harmony of science was brought to light when I learned about particle and wave motion.”

“By becoming a physician-researcher, I will do more, be more, and help more, improving the healthcare field by researching cures and applying new advances at the forefront of care. On an individual scale, I will diagnose patients, implement treatments, and improve everyone’s quality of life. On a global scale, I will develop new methods of diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, while training the next generation of researchers and scientists and linking patient care and research in new ways.”

Acceptance Speech


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