16-year-old girl Karmanos volunteer aims to get other teens into STEM careers

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A 16-year-old girl who's been volunteering at Karmanos Cancer Institute since she was 10 is now aiming to motivate other students to pursue a STEM career.

"I was making ribbons for the breast cancer walk and then as I got older and I progressed, I started becoming more involved," said Katie Heath.

Both Katie's parents are in the medical field and that has its advantages. Looking up to her mom, she worked in labs and shadowing doctors at Karmanos Cancer Institute.

"I realized I was very fortunate to have these opportunities, but I also realized that I shouldn't be the only one who should have these opportunities and I realized the disparity," Katie said.

"So she sees me do the doctor thing, that's just one level of what we do here. We have to make sure that people in the community know that we're here but also that we're helping them to understand what we're doing here in their backyard," said Dr. Elizabeth Heath, Wayne State School of Medicine.

So Katie went to work, creating FocuSSTEM NextGen -- a program that provides exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, to interested high school students.

"When they come in, they hear about Karmanos and they hear about Wayne State University, and then after that we get into the career discussions, and we usually have around six or seven careers presented," Katie said.

She says the experts talk not only about what they do but how they got there. 

Click here to learn more: focusstemnextgen.com/