Liberty Ledger

Reach for the STARS

Senior Emily Ristevski graduates from UMSL’s Students and Teachers As Research Scientists program

Senior+Emily+Ristevski+continues+her+heavy+workload+from+the+summer+into+her+senior+year+with+classes+like%3B+AP+Calculus%2C+Biomedical+Innovations%2C+AP+Biology+and+AP+Literature+and+Composition.+
Senior Emily Ristevski continues her heavy workload from the summer into her senior year with classes like; AP Calculus, Biomedical Innovations, AP Biology and AP Literature and Composition.

Senior Emily Ristevski continues her heavy workload from the summer into her senior year with classes like; AP Calculus, Biomedical Innovations, AP Biology and AP Literature and Composition.

Jessica Gibson

Jessica Gibson

Senior Emily Ristevski continues her heavy workload from the summer into her senior year with classes like; AP Calculus, Biomedical Innovations, AP Biology and AP Literature and Composition.

Chasteanne Salvosa, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Summer is full of opportunities to travel and relax for many students, but for senior Emily Ristevski, the summer of 2018 was full of opportunities to explore the world of research scientists.

Spending six weeks at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) Students and Teachers As Research Scientists (STARS) program, Ristevski was able to collaborate with a mentor and produce a research paper by the end of the six weeks.

“My brother actually did it when he was in high school, [USML] doesn’t really advertise it a whole bunch in public schools, but my brother went to a private school, so he heard all about it from there,” Ristevski said. “And I saw how much my brother enjoyed it and how it was a good opportunity, so I knew it was something I wanted to do in high school.”

[Dr. Hirbe] made me realize how much I don’t know in the world and how much I am not accomplished and she has her Ph.D. and her M.D. and she’s an oncologist for Barnes Jewish and she’s an assistant professor at WashU Med School, but she was like one of the best people to have as a mentor because she is something that I strive to be. I would love to say that I could be like her when I grow up.”

— Emily Ristevski

A program exclusively for accomplished rising seniors, the STARS program matches students with mentors, many of whom are professors and doctors actively working in the science field, and by the end of the six weeks, students have a completed research paper to add to their resume. Ristevski worked with Dr. Angela Hirbe, an associate professor at Washington University (WashU) and oncologist at Barnes-Jewish hospital, who specializes in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), a cancer in the central nervous system, the topic of Ristevski’s research paper.

Ristevski’s paper was titled “The TRIM Reaper; the role of TRIM23 in the cell deaths of MPNSTs (Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors)”.

“That’s what the lab [technicians and Dr. Hirbe] was focusing on, the lab that I was a part of, and obviously, cancer is a hot topic right now and especially the cancer that I was looking at, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, those are very deadly,” Ristevski said. “And there’s not really a whole bunch known about it, so there’s been an increase to learn more about it.”

A highlight of the STARS program was being able to work with people who actually work within the science field and allowing students to experience what a true scientist’s world is like.

“She is pretty humbling,” Ristevski said of Dr. Hirbe.“It made me realize how much I don’t know in the world and how much I am not accomplished and she has her Ph.D. and her M.D. and she’s an oncologist for Barnes Jewish and she’s an assistant professor at WashU Med School, but she was like one of the best people to have as a mentor because she is something that I strive to be. I would love to say that I could be like her when I grow up.”

In addition to her hard work over the summer, Ristevski’s hard work is reflected in everything she does over the school year, as Vice President of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and her fourth year on Varsity Liberty Dance Team.

“She’s always helping others, if we have questions, she always knows the choreography and can help us learn it,” freshman and Liberty Belle Anna Weber said. “You can tell she works hard at everything, if she gets a correction on something, she’ll work really hard on getting that. You never see her off-task or messing around.”

“She’s a great student,” Project Lead The Way (PLTW) teacher and HOSA sponsor Ms. Strathman said of Ristevski. “She’s very organized, also helps the HOSA members as needed and always helps the other officers in planning and implementing activities and events.”

Ristevski plans on majoring in Pre-Med Biology at “hopefully” either Case Western Reserve University or Duke University, and from there, attend medical school. While she doesn’t know what kind of specialization she would take on, Ristevski says that she leans towards oncology, the study of cancer.

But despite the heavy workload that keeps Ristevski busy day in and day out, she knows that all of the hard work will help her reach for the stars.

About the Contributors
Chasteanne Salvosa, Co-editor-in-chief of Ledger magazine

Chasteanne (Chas-teen) Salvosa is a senior and co-editor-in-chief for the Ledger. This is her fourth year in publications. In her free time, Chasteanne...

Jessica Gibson, Reporter

Jessica is a senior and is in her fourth and final year of publications at Liberty. She is super excited for her senior year. Mostly excited for senior...

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