Independent Study & Mentorship Program

I am honored that I could be part of the Frisco ISD Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) program as a mentor.

FISD ISM is a Professional program meant for academically advanced students who go through a rigorous and competitive selection process before being accepted. Within this program students explore their desired field and research about a specific topic and display their knowledge through an original work and product.

Manogna’s potfolio

But let me start from the beginning. Last year in December, I was approached by Manogna Jonnalagadda, an 11th-grade student from Centennial High School in Frisco. She was asking if I was available for an interview, that she wanted to conduct as part of her ISM program to learn more about biomedical engineering. And sure enough, I agreed. During this interview, Manogna told me more about the ISM program and asked me to become her mentor, which I happily did.

Manogna was interested in spinal cord injury and ways to treat that. During her first part of the project (original work), she was doing research on spinal cord injuries and treatments, including spinal cord stimulation, and was creating an interactive website as a helpful guide. For the second part (final product), she was researching nerve conduit devices for nerve repair and was writing a review article to summarize her findings.

During the mentored phase, we had weekly meetings to plan her final product, discuss her findings, review her milestones, and talk about science and engineering. It was a blast for me to see how Manogna managed to accomplish her goals and how her final product came to life, and all this in the midst of a pandemic.

In March, Manogna came to UNT to see our labs and to make her first own polymer. That was our first and only in-person mentor meeting we had, and it was a lot of fun.

At the end of April was the “Final Presentation Night” at Centennial High School and Manogna was presenting her final product. She did an awesome job presenting her work and seemed like she never did anything else in her life. So professional and confident! I was beyond proud to see what she had accomplished and it was a great honor for me to be part of her journey. I would always do it again.

To learn more about this fantastic young woman and her research, please visit her online portfolio.

And here is a link to her final presentation.

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