BOSTON (CBS) – Students can learn a lot in a classroom, but sometimes seeing really is believing, particularly when it comes to science education.

A group of fortunate students from Boston, Chelsea, and Revere are getting a front-row seat on the science of health care. They are participants in the Mass. General Hospital Youth Scholars program.

The goal is to help students make STEM classes (science, technology, engineering and math) feel more relevant.

Christy Egun of the Youth Scholars program explained, “We are able to show them what STEM looks like in a research lab … and how it fits into their academics.”

Tenth-graders shadow different departments in the hospital to learn about all of the various career paths.

For example, they went to the Radiation-Oncology lab, 65 feet below the Charles River, to see how technicians deliver doses of radiation to very specific parts of the human body.

They also consulted with personnel in the Dosimetry department. They are unsung specialists who develop strategies to make sure the dose of radiation is just right.

Students such as Jamile Lugo are having a whole new world of medicine opened up for them. “It definitely makes me think a lot more and makes me see different things and it makes me wonder,” Lugo said.

Many of the program’s graduates are now attending top tier colleges. Egun says institutions such as Mass. General can really help students master those STEM classes.  “Students really get engaged in the work, engaged in shadowships, and hands on opportunities.”

Health care as an industry is very important to the regional economy. It’s the largest source of jobs in Boston, and it was the fastest-growing sector in the past 10 years.

Egun believes it is important for Boston’s future to engage young people in health care at an early age.  She hopes to see some of the program’s graduates working at the hospital someday, “as long as they are not operating on me,” she added with a laugh.

Talal Hamza, a 10th-grader from Revere High School, now has that as a goal.

“Right now, I aspire to be a neurosurgeon, hopefully at MGH. I love the hospital, and the people we met are amazing, from all kinds of backgrounds, and hopefully one day I can become a neurosurgeon.”

The program has grown dramatically, from 150 students to now about 600.

If you have an Eye On Education story for Paula Ebben, email her at or contract her on Twitter @PaulaEbbenWBZ


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