Madison Graf was Cedar Community Secondary student council president last year and while she now has experience with politics, she has her sights set on the medical field.
A summer job a few years ago aided greatly in her ambition to become a medical researcher.
“I did a cancer research internship in the summer of Grade 11 and I really didn’t want to (get into medical research) before that but it kind of inspired me to because I didn’t even realize the world of research was even that amazing – I didn’t even know how people did research at all … I didn’t even think about it as a career choice,” she said.
The eight-week internship may have taken up Graf’s time that summer but she was assigned a project and under the guidance of two researchers – Nathan West and Jill Murray – worked on breast cancer research.
“It was basically to see if [a] protein would cause breast tumours to become [malignant] and in the end we needed more research to happen to understand it more because our results were a little bit wonky, unfortunately,” she said, adding that she also had to make presentations to other researchers.
Graf’s volunteer work was also related to cancer research, as she was a volunteer with the Relay For Life and also organized the Cedar Secondary Terry Fox Run fundraiser.
Her internship gave her perspective.
“It was cool because I just finished doing all this cancer research and I realized how much of a great cause it was going towards, whereas before I didn’t think that, ‘Oh, it’s going to cancer research, that’s a good thing.’”
“You have to meet the researchers and see how great they are at what they do and how passionate they are to realize what an amazing cause it’s going towards, so there was definitely an extra push for me,” she said, when asked about taking care of the Terry Fox Run.
Graf is headed to Vancouver Island University this semester and hopes to transfer to the University of Victoria, where she plans to major in microbiology.