Nikki Jacobus is thriving at the University of Arizona where the Huntington High School Class of 2018 member is studying in the Honors College.
Ms. Jacobus recently presented a first year project at Arizona’s Honors Pinnacle, utilizing some of the skills she developed as a four-year participant in Huntington High School’s science research program.
Huntington Class of 2018 grad Nikki Jacobus.
“I did a research project with the help of a professor and we focused on skin cancer and massage therapy,” Ms. Jacobus said. “I conducted a survey to find out if massage therapy programs in Arizona are teaching their students about skin cancer, how to recognize suspicious skin lesions and how to effectively communicate that information with clients. This is crucial as massage therapists are constantly around skin and may encounter a suspicious skin lesion that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Also, massage therapy program curricula are not standardized nationally and there is a gap in knowledge regarding what they teach about skin cancer.”
Ms. Jacobus recently recounted her first year college research experience to Lori Kenny, a longtime Huntington High School science research teacher. She presented her college research project to a team of judges.
“I found that most schools in Arizona do not implement skin cancer education and risk reduction in their curricula while only a couple do, which is an issue for clients who may have cancerous lesions and are not aware,” Ms. Jacobus said. “I looked at why most do not emphasize skin cancer education. I also compared two programs that reported including skin cancer education in their curricula and looked at why it is significant to teach students how to appropriately warn clients and refer them to a specialist if an irregular lesion is found.”
Ms. Jacobus considered Arizona State University, Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, SUNY Geneseo and the University of Delaware before choosing the University of Arizona. She plans to major in pre-physiology in preparation for a healthcare career. Her interests include such areas as optometry, dental medicine and pediatrics.
“I used what I learned from the Huntington High School science research program to do this college project,” Ms. Jacobus said. “I was inspired by my senior year project on sunscreen SPF levels, reapplication and skin cancer, where I used transparent solar radiation beads. I presented my project to judges just like the high school research competitions”
The University of Arizona freshman won’t soon forget Mrs. Kenny. “Thank you for everything and for teaching me so much in high school,” Ms. Jacobus wrote to the veteran Huntington science teacher. “I miss you and everyone there.”
While at Huntington High School, Ms. Jacobus participated in Natural Helpers and Key Club and was a member of the Grandfriends club and the Italian and English Honor Societies. She captained a Relay For Life team.
“Science Research is a wonderful program at Huntington High School,” Ms. Jacobus said. “It prepared me for research opportunities such as this in college. I learned how to create an experiment, how to reach out to a mentor, how to write a research paper, what to include on a research poster board and how to properly present my research in front of classmates and professionally to judges. The skills I learned from four years of participating in this program were applicable to me when working on my honors first year project. What I learned will be helpful for future research in college and beyond. I highly recommend taking Science Research and sticking with it, as it was an amazing program to learn and grow from.”