O'Hara senior honored for cancer project

Sun, Dec 11th 2016 07:00 am

TONAWANDA ­­— Caitlin Persico, a senior at Cardinal O'Hara High School, has been selected to present her research project that she completed over the summer at Roswell Park Cancer Institute to the American Indian Science and Engineering Society national convention on Nov. 10, in Minneapolis.

In addition, Persico was selected to participate in several programs this past summer at Roswell, including Close-Up Washington and Roswell Park Cancer Institute's "Summer Research Internship Program in Cancer Science."

During the six-week Roswell internship program, she worked with her mentor, Dr. Rodney Haring in the department of cancer prevention and control and assisted with a research program on literacy material for breast cancer awareness. The team translated some of the material to Native American languages and terminology to make it easier for members of the Native American community to understand.

Persico met with members of the communities to better understand the language, and how the material should be translated to help improve the awareness. She also received research training at Roswell and the State University of New York at Buffalo, and helped out in the resource center.

Her work will be included in medical publications, which will document the process to complete the research. At Roswell, she was also able to help patients, including her grandfather, who has been battling cancer since March. He completed his first round of chemotherapy treatment, the same week that Caitlin completed the internship program.

Close Up's High School Program, which began immediately prior to her internship at Roswell, gave students and educators an inside look at democracy in action, using the nation's capital as a living classroom.

Participants interacted with the people, processes and places that make Washington unique. Persico met with members of Congress and was encouraged to discuss issues important to students.

Upon their return, the students in the program worked on a video presentation of their trip, which will be used to obtain funding for future groups.

Persico is the daughter of John and Lori Persico of North Tonawanda.   

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