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South Forsyth senior has cancer research published in medical journal
Schwetha Mudalegundi

SOUTH FORSYTH — Many students work hard to receive top academic honors and participate in extracurricular activities to boost their resume for college applications, but one South Forsyth High School senior recently accomplished what professionals in the medical field aim for throughout their career.

Schwetha Mudalegundi, who is set to graduate this spring, is part of a group of scientists who had their research on thyroid cancers published this month by the Journal of Thyroid Disorders and Therapy.

Mudalegundi was connected with the group through her involvement as a Winship Scholar at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University.

“The paper identifies the role of different imagine modalities in the management of well-differentiated thyroid cancer,” according to Maggie Gustavus, media relations and world languages department chair at the school on Peachtree Parkway.

Mudalegundi credits her interest in scientific research to her seventh-grade science fair experience.

When she arrived at South four years ago, she emailed professors at the University of Georgia, University of Alabama, Georgia Tech and Emory to see if anyone would be interested in having a high school student assist them in their research.

The Winship Scholar program at Emory is targeted for high school students who want to experience the “rich, interdisciplinary nature of cancer research with a firsthand understanding of the process of research.”

Students in the program are assigned to work with a research scientist or clinical oncologist who is actively engaged in research at Emory.

“I’d like to tell all students that if you’re curious about something, go ahead and pursue it,” Mudalegundi said. “Look for mentors who are willing to help you.

“And most definitely practice public speaking. You need to be able to explain yourself and your ideas clearly.”

Mudalegundi has worked every summer throughout high school at a different university doing research in the medical field.

She is currently weighing her options for college, where she plans to pursue a pre-med track with an emphasis on neuroscience.

In addition to her parents and college professors, she credits South teachers Melissa Smith and Jon Arant for encouraging her in this field of study.