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My name is Tyler Schutt, and I am a senior enrolled in the Medical & Bioscience Research APEX course. Although I am taking my first APEX course in the last part of my senior year, APEX has been the cherry on top of my high school experience—albeit a speedy one. We have quite a lot to accomplish in two fast-paced hours each morning. Deadlines dictate research like no other; they make every meeting, every lab write-up, and every project move at the speed of light. I knew this course would fly by because I came into APEX with a lofty goal in mind: complete and publish original research.

A lot of people often question why a high school student would want to submit themselves to the stress that accompanies scientific research, especially when “senioritis” should be kicking in full force. I am an aspiring physician, ideally specializing in either reproductive endocrinology/fertility medicine, anesthesiology, or radiology. One of the many suggested experiences for medical school admission is conducting and publishing original research. By getting a head start in this phenomenal program, I will go into university with a competitive edge and invaluable experience in research. I have had this goal for a while, so I embarked on my research journey by drafting my experimental concept and reviewing published literature over the summer. I came into my course with an idea, and APEX has made it a reality.

My research focuses on testing the toxicity of the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, bismuth subsalicylate, on a model organism. This compound has little pre-existing toxicity data, despite having been in use for decades. I am currently testing the compound on tiny aquatic organisms called brine shrimp to contribute to this underdeveloped area of scientific literature. Conducting numerous trials with the experimental compound as well as two positive controls—compounds with known effects—is a lot to manage in a timely manner; however, the organization and communication skills I have heightened through APEX has made this all very realistic.

Thanks to the numerous professional and technical skills I have gained, I am on my way to publishing my findings on a poster and presenting at scientific conferences. Without APEX this would have been very hard to do. I am truly grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had in this program and cannot wait to see how it helps in my future!