SOMERVILLE, NJ -- Immaculata High School has launched a Career Shadowing Program which enables members of the senior class to seriously consider future careers by seeing first-hand examples of professions in real life.

The pilot project matches each senior with an individual working in a career of interest where he/she will learn more about the work environment and important skills that lead to professional success. 

Recently, Michael and James Dowling of Hillsborough and Sean Doran of Branchburg "shadowed" Carl Imhauser PhD, a 1993 alumna of Immaculata, currently attached to  Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, considered among the top-ranked hospitals for orthopedics and rheumatology.

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Imhauser’s work focuses on the mechanics of human joints including the knee, and foot and ankle. The over-arching thrust of this work is to better understand mechanical factors associated with onset and progression of osteoarthritis following joint injury and the ability of surgical treatment to restore joint biomechanics and potentially delay progression of this disease.

All three students are considering the study of Mechanical Engineering in college.

Michael Dowling was impressed by how dedicated and happy everyone was working in his/her own fields, surrounding themselves with new knowledge and ideas.

"I learned what an amazing place that the Hospital for Special Surgery truly is and saw very distinctly the importance of understanding the engineering side of the human body and the number of opportunities for a mechanical engineer in this field," he said.

James Dowling was interested in the role of a mechanical engineer in the medical field and was grateful that Imhauser shared his experiences and showed them the monumental potential that this area of medicine offers.

Doran felt that he got a clearer view of the necessary educational path for this type of career and was impressed by the advanced technology used and the complexity of the research.

“The IHS career shadowing program aligns with my beliefs to give back to the IHS community and expose potential engineering students to some of the many applications of this discipline," Imhauser said. "During their visit James, Michael, and Sean met practicing engineers, who use their training to analyze MRI scans of patients’ knees to identify if they have osteoarthritis, program robots to quantify how the knee joints move after reconstructing the anterior cruciate ligaments, use motion capture technology to evaluate how athletes run and pitch, as well as design and develop longer lasting and better functioning total knee, shoulder, elbow, and hip replacements.

"Our hope," Imhauser continued, "was to show to the students examples of how engineering has a direct impact on the clinical practice of medicine and society as a whole. I also thought that it was important that the students hear ‘pearls of wisdom’ from the engineers that they met throughout the day; they gave advice that most engineers probably wish they had when they were standing in the students ‘shoes.’”

“Shadowing a job can help a student determine if it is really something he/she would enjoy,” explained Greg Arakelian, the guidance counselor who initiated the program. “Many students have had very positive experiences.  Some have realized that the occupations that they selected are different from what they expected, which is also very beneficial. We want to thank the professionals who have sponsored our students. They have welcomed them and set up schedules, so that our students get a realistic and meaningful understanding of  particular occupations.  We are very pleased with the program’s success."