Student shadows cancer specialist, pursues knowledge of bloodborne illness


Abby Asimos

Senior Nelson Soga grins after a group of friends surprise him with a birthday muffin on Feb. 25 in the Dolphin Workroom.

Senior Nelson Soga, inspired by issues faced by family members, shadowed a cancer specialist as a part of his senior capstone project for the Math and Science Academy.

Nelson, who held prior knowledge about bloodborne diseases due to his family’s heritage from Togo, Africa, was particularly inspired to shadow a mentor in the field. In a total of 76 hours, he shadowed Dr. Craig Franzmen to gain knowledge in hematology and oncology.

“It was really interesting to see the patient’s experiences with the disease and how they were dealing with it. It was really eye-opening,” said Nelson.

After his mentorship, Nelson created a lesson to help educate students on the process of blood clots, as well as the issues that those with bloodborne illnesses face with blood clot issues. A quiz after the lesson revealed that all of the students enjoyed it and found it effective, with an over 86% accuracy rate.

“Previously, I was skeptical about going into the medical field. Having the experience was really inspiring and changed my view on the profession. I got to see the way [Dr. Franzman] interacted with and helped patients,” said Nelson.