Elena ’18 presents honors research project at Examined Life conference

Elena ’18 with her research at the Examined Life conference on Oct. 12. Photo courtesy of Elena ’18.

Elena 18 presented her Honors Research Project, which she has been working on for a year and a half, at the Examined Life conference at the University of Iowa from Thurs., Oct. 12th to Sat., Oct. 14th.

Elena developed a video-game that enables spinal cord injury patients to complete their physical therapy with free-weights and resistance bands while being immersed in a virtual reality experience.

She attended the conference with doctors who worked with spinal cord injury patients or who teach at medical schools and medical students from all over the country.

Head of the Honors Research in Science program Allison Ponzio mentors Elena in the program and sees her presentation as an incredible achievement for a high school student.

“I am immensely proud of Elena… She’s one of those students who has gone above and beyond and now is presenting at the professional level, which is probably one of the highest levels she can achieve for this program,” Ponzio said.

Elena said she is glad she attended the conference.

“It was a little hard at first to navigate being the youngest one there, but overall I’m glad I went and got to meet people from all over the country who had worked with spinal cord patients,” Elena said.

Looking forward, Elena said she hopes to study cognitive science in college and continue researching topics that combine humanities and science or medicine, such as philosophy and neuroscience.

Elena said she is submitting her project to contests and journals, and is planning to start a new project this year.

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