Since she was a little girl, 15-year-old Courtney Lewis has know that she would forge a career in science. Now the Walker School student has a full scholarship to an Atlanta university after participating in a summer cancer research internship with graduate and post-doctorate students nearly twice her age.
“At first, I was a little cautious because there is a lot of equipment in the lab, but at the same time I was very confident because I just felt like I was in the right place,” Courtney said. “Even when I was little, I could see myself in a laboratory, so it was the realization of my dreams coming true.”
The 11th-grader, who has attended Walker since her freshman year and is the daughter of Kennesaw residents Raymond and Diana Lewis, was invited to work at Clark Atlanta University’s Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development conducting cancer research with graduate and post-doctoral students over the summer.
During her time there, between June 26 and July 29, she performed many experiments alongside her colleagues. One of her favorites, Western blot, studies how proteins in cells can affect cancer treatments.
“We were determining if a cancer treatment was working,” Courtney said. “I really enjoyed that because I loved that someone realized how effective proteins can be studied efficiently in a way that is useful.”
Courtney learned about the opportunity at Clark Atlanta from a postal worker whose child attends the school.
The good news came after she learned it would be too expensive to attend various medical conferences she was interested in.
“I’m just really thankful to God that this happened because I was so discouraged about how things ended up with the medical conference and very devastated,” she said. “I’m just very ecstatic that this opportunity opened up for me.”
This won’t be the end of Courtney’s work with the college.