For nearly 25 years, PLTW has offered transformative classroom and learning experiences for PreK-12 students. Now, many of those students are professionals in STEM fields. We recently reached out to several PLTW alumni to learn more about their educational and career journeys and find out what advice they have for current PLTW students. If you are a PLTW alumnus interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you here.
Lauren Snodgrass lives in Portage, Michigan and is a Clinical Data Manager at Indiana University School of Medicine, Urology Department. In high school, Lauren completed Principles of Biomedical Science, Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions, and Biomedical Innovation in the PLTW Biomedical Science program.
In what grades did you participate in PLTW? What were some of your most memorable experiences from PLTW?
I completed all four years of the PLTW Biomedical Science program from my freshman to senior years of high school. I loved all of the really interesting and creative projects and experiments. One time we got to try extracting DNA from a jelly fish that glowed in the dark and then try to bind it with something else. My group didn't even do it correctly and ultimately, we couldn't do it. That was almost more interesting in its own way. Why didn't it work? What steps did we do wrong? Did we misinterpret something? It really sparked the understanding that the science we learn in class has real applications you can see (sometimes in the dark!).
What did your journey look like to get to where you are today?
I graduated high school and went to Indiana University where I graduated after five years. I got a Bachelor of Arts in sociology after changing my major four times. During college I did a lot of extracurriculars, which is really what got me the job I have today. I worked with the Sociology Department working on qualitative and quantitative research and doing things like basic data entry, cold calling, transcription work, etc.
What is your current role within your company? What are your responsibilities in this position?
Currently I’m a Clinical Data Manager. In my job I work with Principal Investigators (PI) on research projects, specifically the things that involve data. I create and design the database and work with the PI on executing protocol. I help create systems for research projects that ensure data is captured in the most efficient way possible. I also import and export data for PIs and create data tables and basic analytics for grants and for publications. Some of my job even includes working with students, residents and fellows to help them work with the databases.
Overall, my job is capturing data in the most accurate and timely way possible to ensure that patients get the best possible care.
What did you learn in PLTW that still helps you today?
That there are always new things to learn and really smart people to collaborate with, which is incredibly exciting.
Do you have any advice for current PLTW students?
Find out what you’re interested in and explore it! Find out how to make learning fun for you, and how learning works best for you.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Do extracurricular projects!
PLTW provides PreK-12 schools, teachers, and students with hands-on, interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life and their future careers.
PLTW rejuvenates teachers, providing world-class experiences that keep them on the forefront of how to prepare students for the demands of tomorrow. PLTW:
- Has provided professional development opportunities to more than 80,000 teachers giving them the support and resources needed to inspire students
- Offers best-in-class teacher training: PLTW Core Training with Master Teachers
- Continuously updates teacher resources that are available on demand
- Facilitates teacher networking opportunities
- Develops curriculum by a team of writers, many of whom are former teachers