A Red Deer Grade 11 student has been chosen as one of a limited few who will participate in an extensive summer research program through the Heritage Youth Researcher Summer (HYRS) Program.
Andrew Panteluk, 16, will be going to the University of Calgary to study the effects of exercise on cerebral blood flow and look at the impacts of exercise of cognitive functioning. For six weeks, he will participate in professional research labs, learn about the facilities and develop his understanding of mental and physical health.
“Ever since I came into middle school science, I’ve always had a keen knack for the sciences – biology, chemistry, physics. This program is really cool because you can experience more things that are outside of the classroom than you otherwise would in high school. You get to participate in real research, and that’s really cool. This will also allow me to get some experience to really make sure that this is the kind of medical research I want to do,” he said.
Panteluk added to be able to study neuroscience is a topic that holds great personal interest for him.
“I’m really focusing on neuroscience and this field is very dear to me because I’ve had a lot of family members who’ve been impacted by neurological disorders. I didn’t know that when I was applying to it, but now that I’ve been selected, it’s even more interesting to me because I can relate some of those things to my own experiences of what my family went through,” he said.
Over 200 students apply for the program, with 50 being chosen in total for the whole province. Of those 50, 22 students will be sent to the University of Alberta, 22 will be sent to the University of Calgary, and six students will take their program at the University of Lethbridge.
The program is well suited to Panteluk’s academic interests, but also his extracurricular interests of ski races and being a lifeguard. He said the link between physical activity and the medical research fit him perfectly and he is glad to have been given this opportunity.
“I can learn more in the neuroscience field and I’m definitely looking towards that field as I start applying for university next year. A major component of the HYRS acceptance is that you have to be willing to be an ambassador for the program, so I’ll come into classrooms and talk about my experiences and relate those to curricular activities inside the classroom. That’ll be pretty cool – getting to inspire other students as well who are coming up through the grades.”
Panteluk said he is a little nervous, but is much more focused on the excitement of the program’s opportunities. He added he is hopeful that he will be conducting such research one day, and views the HYRS program as a great opportunity to get started.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it and I’m not even so excited for the school year to end as I am for that to start.”