Summer Spotlight: Stratton Pratt
For a lot of students at Avon Old Farms, like Stratton Pratt ’23, summer vacation doesn’t mean a break from learning.
Many students take summer courses, work at internships, or spend time volunteering. Most, if not all, of these opportunities are made possible through efforts from our dedicated faculty and staff.
This was definitely the case for Stratton. Over the summer he took a physics course and an SAT prep class, spent time on campus assisting Dr. Jack Sanford with lab work, and participated in a very unique volunteer and professional development opportunity at Hartford Hospital.
“It was a really busy summer,” Stratton said.
The volunteer program was carried out over the summer at Hartford Hospital’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI). There Stratton had access to a “ridiculously high-tech training facility complete with lifelike animatronics.”
Over the course of several weeks, he helped prep the surgery center, learned how to navigate the monitors used by doctors, controlled the anesthesia, trained with surgical students, and was able to sit in on medical school-level classes and reviews for practicing doctors.
“That was an incredible experience,” Stratton said. “It was free learning.”
The experience was so comprehensive, that in one instance Stratton had an ultrasound performed on him, acting as a hypothetical patient for doctors in residency. “That was really cool because I’m interested in anatomy,” Stratton commented.
Stratton’s interests in the medical field go back to freshman year. Although his mom works with pharmaceuticals and his dad is a physician, he said he didn’t start seriously pursuing that path himself until after he enrolled at AOF.
“Ever since then I’ve looked for any hands-on opportunity I can find,” Stratton said, adding, “Avon has been very accommodating and helpful on that path.”
In the case of this summer’s opportunity, he said he has Mrs. Cristina Pinton to thank. As the director for the school’s Advanced Independent Project Program, Mrs. Pinton worked with Stratton to organize a project during the spring semester. When that project fell through due to issues caused by COVID-19, Mrs. Pinton was able to line up the summer program at CESI as a backup.
“I want to give a special thank you to Mrs. Pinton,” Stratton said. “I owe all of it to her for giving me that opportunity.”
Going forward, Stratton is ready for a busy senior year. He said he hopes to see more of his peers take advantage of similar opportunities. He is also looking for a younger student, or group of younger students, to take over a project he had helped start as part of a previous AIP endeavor. The project involves genetic sampling and DNA sequencing in an effort to document and analyze the biodiversity on campus.
More information about the Advanced Independent Project Program is available on the school’s website.