Class of 2021: Doane Stuart’s Peters already accepted into medical school

Olakunsi Peters of The Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer.
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Olakunsi Peters of The Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer.

RENSSELAER — Back in March, when the celebration of Women’s History Month was coming to a close, The Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer celebrated one of the strong young women in its senior class. As president of student government, Olakunsi Peters “is a shining example of a strong, female leader,” said the school in a press release.

Peters said she felt supported, motivated and encouraged by the student body, noting that Doane Stuart and its community have always been inclusive and supportive. She has been a student at Doane Stuart since middle school.

“When she isn’t serving as our fearless student leader, Peters is a basketball player (a sport she loves to play with her family and watch on TV), but she has also been involved in just about everything on campus,” said the release.

Peters has been a member of the mock trial team since the 9th grade (and co-captain this year), a member of student government since 7th grade (vice president in 11th and president this year).

This year, she applied to participate in SHIP (Senior Honors Interdisciplinary Project). Students accepted into this program start working on self-chosen, interdisciplinary projects over the summer between junior and senior year.

Peters’ SHIP has consisted of working with biology teacher David Wells and others in the pharmaceutical industry to research the cost of pharmaceuticals for patients. Peters said she is interested in the field because she wants to become a physician and work as an advocate for her patients to be sure everyone can have access to needed health care.

In the fall, Peters will attend Brown University, which accepted her to its highly selective Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME). Though just a graduating senior in high school, Peters already has a guaranteed place in Brown’s medical school. This program offers an eight-year BS/MD for students who are committed to a career in medicine and who also want a broad liberal arts education.

What inspired her to pursue the medical field? She said it was her curiosity, as well as her inspiration from her classes at Doane Stuart. She recalls a science class learning about how the brain interprets information and how cool she thought it was that the very second of learning that information, her brain was doing exactly what she was being taught it was doing.

When asked if she had planned to take a break this summer, Peters said yes, but she’ll remain busy. Not only is she going to learn to drive, but she is also going to participate in the Next Generation Summer Program at Albany Medical College. This eight-week summer program in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics (DNET) focuses on introducing students to conducting clinical research, virtual brain modeling and creating their own research projects.

Asked what she’ll miss the most about Doane Stuart, Peters answered, “the community.” While this year may have been different, with COVID restrictions, she said the school worked very hard to make “everyone comfortable and still feel together.”

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