Most high school students might be happy getting good grades and joining a club to please the parents, but then again, Sasha Thomas isn’t like most kids. Even as she competes in biology competitions and volunteers in hospitals, she still seeks new ways to challenge herself. “If I don’t do something, I don’t feel complete,’ said Thomas, reflecting on her journey as a junior in the School of Science and Engineering at Townview Magnet High School.
Medicine spans many subfields, and Thomas wants to get in on all of it. She has experience on the academic side, reaching semifinalist status for the United States Biology Olympiad and competes on the school Biology team, but has also explored the more personal side of healthcare. She interacts with patients one-on-one, engages in philanthropy for a Children’s hospital, and connects younger students with professionals to talk about careers in medicine. Although each of these topics are complex, Thomas is not daunted. “There’s always a problem, so there’s always a solution,” Thomas says. She views each of these different aspects as a new challenge, where the solutions are all interconnected.
From a young age, Thomas has always been encouraged to explore a variety of ideas by teachers and family. She recalls the supportive feedback of a middle school teacher as the jumping-off point for many of her interests in biology and medicine. “She always pushed me and gave me different suggestions, and I was never afraid to ask anything around her,” Thomas said. This supportive environment allowed Thomas to probe the various aspects of medicine that she hopes to make a career in.
Thomas hopes to become a surgeon in the future, applying her skills to improve the lives of those around her, but she still wants to keep her options open. To her, one of the greatest properties of science is how connected everything can be. Seeing how a certain breakthrough in chemistry leads to some new knowledge discovered in biology brings Thomas real joy within academia. This kind of interdisciplinary, or even multidisciplinary approach, is something that Thomas has really exemplified. She looks forwards to continuing her interests through college, solving one problem at a time.