Reed Kolany, a physics major at Central Michigan University, certainly isn't one to stand around and wait for opportunity.
Back when he was a CMU freshman, the Naperville, Illinois, resident decided he wanted to be a medical physicist. Not long after, he set his sights on a highly competitive fellowship offered by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
He knew that as a freshman he'd likely be turned down.
So Kolany decided to "build his resume" like fine masonry and wait to take his biggest swing as an upperclassman.
And so, it happened. By the middle of his junior year the fellowship was his. Kolany was one of seven students in the country to land one.
"Things worked out in my favor," Kolany said.
He was placed for 10 weeks — June to mid-August — at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
He spent the summer working with the center's medical physicists on cases of incidental radiation hitting metastasized parts of the brain — that is, cancers that arrive from other areas of the body.
Kolany and the team studied a type of radiation treatment that involved very high doses.
"The radiation gives a very concentrated dose to the tumor, but it's not perfect, so there's some incidental radiation," Kolany said. "We were looking to see if that incidental irradiation was preventing further tumors from growing."
And that would be a good thing, right?
"Yeah," said Kolany, who's starting his senior year. "If that's true, it would be great."
No answers yet
Scientists don't expect any answers for a while, Kolany said. This summer, a lot of his work involved studying before-and-after MRIs.
"It was a wonderful experience," he said. "I was able to see the whole workflow: how a patient comes in needing treatment and how the process works.
"It was definitely interesting to watch and see if it was something I wanted to do."