How PLTW Courses Were the First to Prep Me in Thinking Like a Doctor

Molly K. Harmon earned her B.A at the University of Saint Francis in 2015 and is a second-year naturopathic medical student at the National University of Health Sciences. Molly is president of NDS, the campus student naturopathic club.

I was in the group of pilot students for PLTW Biomedical Science courses at Warsaw Community High School, in Warsaw, Indiana, making me one of the first in my community to experience this rewarding and opportunity-filled educational program. The most important thing that came from what I learned in these courses was that I had the ability to solve problems on my own, connect dots, research answers, and do lab analysis.

My instructor, Mr. Terry Aukeman, was not one to hold your hand through anything, either. He did the opposite: He was the first to let us have control of our ideas, and he challenged us in our answers, always asking us how and why and what. You were not allocated a "right" answer without him making you prove why you thought that was the "right" answer.

I remember walking in to the classroom and seeing a piece of paper on my desk that had a couple details on a patient, and Mr. Aukeman would say, "All right, what’s your diagnosis? Go!” I loved every minute of those classes, and walking into a new problem, disease, or triage situation was the highlight of my day throughout high school.

PLTW gave me two things that are part of the reason why I am where I am today:

  1. PLTW Biomedical Science courses assured me that I wanted to help heal people and work in the medical field. The outstanding curriculum only motivated me to get to a point in my career where I was in charge of helping and healing others. It is also why I took my first hospital job as a patient care tech while I was attending undergraduate school. 
  2. PLTW Biomedical Science courses provided me with confidence by challenging me in a whole new way. These courses are why I was able to attend the National Youth Leadership Conference on Medicine, and I attribute my continual drive to be a life-long learner to these courses as well. I never thought I could be a doctor, but the thought-provoking, hands-on curriculum focused on problem solving gave me that confidence to apply to naturopathic medical school.

Thank you, PLTW, for truly leading the way to my dream and helping me be the change I wish to see in the world. 

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.