Weekly Feature



2018-07-12 / Local News

St. Mary’s students chosen for Junior Robotic Surgery Challenge


St. Mary’s senior Nicholas Pronobis, a Cheektowaga native, center, is shown with fellow senior Megan White of West Seneca and junior Jeffrey Zoyhofski of East Aurora as accepted members of the Junior Robotic Surgery Challenge at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. St. Mary’s senior Nicholas Pronobis, a Cheektowaga native, center, is shown with fellow senior Megan White of West Seneca and junior Jeffrey Zoyhofski of East Aurora as accepted members of the Junior Robotic Surgery Challenge at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Three St. Mary’s High School students will be spending their summer learning about surgical robotics.

Senior and Cheektowaga native Nicholas Pronobis; fellow senior Megan White, of West Seneca; and junior Jeffrey Zoyhofski, of East Aurora, have been selected to participate in the Junior Robotic Surgery Challenge at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Zoyhofski, White and Pronobis were selected from a highly competitive field of candidates, between the ages of 16 and 19 and from across the country, in order to participate in the program, a spokesperson for the school, which is located in Lancaster, said.

For the St. Mary’s group, the decision to apply to Roswell stemmed from a collective desire to learn more about the field of medicine at an early age.

“I am fascinated by the medical field as a whole, but wanted the opportunity to be exposed to different fields before I decide on a college major,” said Zoyhofski.

St. Mary’s advanced placement biology teacher Kathleen Walh-Henshaw said she was extremely proud of the students.

“The application process alone for the robotics program is extremely rigorous,” Walh-Henshaw said. “This whole experience is a wonderful opportunity for these students to really expand their knowledge in the science and medical fields to see if this is a path they want to explore in college and beyond as well as learn the intricacies of robotic surgery, which is an incredibly fascinating field.”

Through the JRSC, students will be exposed to the Fundamental Skills of Robotic Surgery curriculum, also known as the primary method used to train robot-assisted surgeons at Roswell Park.

In addition to this exposure, students will have access to workshops and job fairs to get a feel for the opportunities that await them in the fields of science, technology and medicine. At the end of the course, students will receive a certificate of completion in Introduction to Robotic Surgery.

All three St. Mary’s students said they are excited about the opportunity and hope to get a glimpse of what their future careers may hold.

“I really want to immerse myself into the world of medicine and be reassured that it’s something I can see myself doing in the future,” Pronobis said.

White agrees. “Right now, I am looking to go into physical therapy or sports medicine, so this opportunity with Roswell is the perfect chance to see different things and get more experience.”

Roswell Park is one of three host centers for the Junior Robotic Surgery Challenge, with the other two being the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Temple University in Philadelphia.

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