Saw My Last Spinal Nerve Surgery 5.0 hrs pending

On this day, I saw an intense surgery. It dealt with a woman who had her rods protruding from her back. This surgery required a plastic surgeon as well to cover up the skin that was impacted. Posted to Glave on

Jimmy Menkhaus marked Logged Experience as complete.

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Watched 2 Surgeries 5.0 hrs pending

During this day, I observed two surgeries. I was able to walk around as well and see a tumor being removed in another surgeon's OR.

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Observed Doc. Kalfas with patients 5.0 hrs pending

During this day, I observed some of his patients, learning about detections in CTs and MRIs. I also learned how to handle patients.

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Jimmy Menkhaus marked Contract as complete.

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Observed Doc. Kalfas 7.0 hrs pending

I got there at 10 am and left at 5 pm. I shadow Doctor Kalfas as he held appointments with his patients, seeing the flow of conversations and how to understand MRIs and CT scans. 

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Robert Fowler approves Desiree Smith's "Contract".

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My Mentor Invitation

                                                                                                       Gilmour Academy Senior Project 34001 Cedar Road
Gates Mills, OH  44040

March 11, 2022

Dr. Iain H. Kalfas M.D.

Department of Neurosurgery

Cleveland Clinic

9500 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44195

Dear Dr. Kalfas,

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to shadow you during my Senior Project experience this May. As we discussed, I am a senior at Gilmour Academy active in multiple clubs and Advanced Placement classes, including AP Biology, AP Literature, AP Calculus AB, and AP Computer Science C with a major interest in studying medicine.  

I look forward to your assistance as I follow the Career Exploration pathway in medicine. My main essential question is: “What is the importance of doctors and medicine, and how do they not just save a life but serve the people?”  My goals for this project are to observe the different circumstances and responsibilities that come along with being a doctor/surgeon and to understand the degree of empathy and sympathy necessary for performing surgery.

I plan to spend my time shadowing you from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I will meet with you at your office on the weeks of May 9 through May 20, Monday through Friday except on May 9th and May 11 due to my AP Calculus AB test and AP Biology test. Throughout these two weeks, I plan to observe and ask questions, deepening my understanding of the art of plastic surgery.

To fulfill my requirements at Gilmour, please note that I need mentor approval of this plan. As my mentor, your verification of my 20-hour log will also be required once the experience has been completed.  If you have questions, my email address is

We will be using a website called Glave to administrate this Senior Project. If you are willing to serve as my mentor, look for an email with the subject, Welcome to Glave. Once you click on the link from that email you'll then set a password. After that, you will be taken to a dashboard page where you can accept the invitation to serve as my mentor. As I log time during my project, you'll receive additional emails asking you to validate the time. Please let me know if you run into any problems while using Glave as it was created by one of my teachers, Mr. Adiletta, ( 

I look forward to working with you this May. I thank you again for all the help and support that you have shown throughout this process.


Desiree Smith, GA’22
Posted to Glave on

Desiree Smith marked Logged Experience as in progress.

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Jimmy Menkhaus approves Desiree Smith's "Contract".

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The Importance of Doctors and Medicine

For my experience, I plan to shadow a plastic surgeon, Dr. Kalfas, to see what it is like to be in his field and recognize if there is a possibility of me continuing in this profession. I plan to follow around and ask questions to the surgeon and get a feel of what it is like to work for an individual, while also learning about his opinions on their field, and why he chose it. 

Title of the Project 

The title of the project is Is Medicine and Doctors Important?

Paragraph Description of the Project 

For my project, I will be assessing what it is like to be a doctor/ surgeon, identifying if it is something I want to do, while also seeing the empathy and sympathy of the surgeons, examining if they care for their patients or just like the idea of saving a life. I want to know if surgery is people and not the idea of just being a god-like person. I want to see what the community is like. As a doctor/surgeon, I plan to observe the interactions between the patient and doctor, accessing as well how their interactions and relationships are if doctors are the last resort or relied on for all.  Not to mention, I would love to acknowledge and recognize the impact that the doctor has on his patients and how one can truly alter and change a life in just a few hours for the better. 

Has the project grown out of an experience in class?  If so, which class? 

In AP Biology, I am learning about mitosis and meiosis and how cancers are transferred and spread which has caused me to become interested in the body, Also, as I spend more time in this class, I have learned to love the idea of anatomy and learning about how the body works. I have grown to become more interested in if I can save a body and manipulate the chromosomes to possibly prevent genetic disorders.

How does the project connect to the Gilmour mission? 

My project connects to the Gilmour mission by showing actions and creating a more humane and just society. It is allowing me the advantage of seeing lives changed and saved. Also, it connects to the idea of how taking action leads to change, how one has to have the confidence to pursue their dreams and hope for success and happiness.

Who is the mentor that you will observe? (This person will certify that you have completed the required 20 hours)

Possibly Dr. Iain Kalfas

What is your blackup plan if COVID makes it impossible for you to shadow this person/place? 

I plan to do several interviews with multiple doctors and surgeons, while also working at my church, dealing with the medical and business side of it. My church works in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic, allowing for my pastor and his team to go to meetings and help negotiate the future of the people in his congregation and in the hospitals. He is considered the voice of the people. I will work in my church in that area, going to those meetings, while also accessing the business side of the church and the processes that go into doing services and more. My church is a megachurch, meaning that there is a little bit more that goes into each service and the thinking processes that have to be dealt with throughout the procedure of having services and keeping the lights on. Not to mention, my church also has a Covid-19 relief team that I can work in collaboration with to access how medicine is truly impacting people and is it benefitting them long term or just short term, allowing to put money into the economy because of the constant refill of prescriptions. 

Do you have additional questions or concerns for the committee as we review this project? 

I do not think so.

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Desiree Smith marked Career Pathway Observation Proposal as in progress.

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Desiree Smith marked Career Pathway Observation Proposal as in progress.

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Watched Surgery 8.0 hrs pending

During my shadowing, I observed two surgeries being able to see the spine in person and observing putting rods in the back. Furthermore, I got to observe all the other surgeries that were happening at that time. Also, I got the chance to interview an Anesthesiologist during the surgery, learning how to understand her boards and how to give the right amount of anesthesia to a patient depending on their weight. Not to mention, I got to consult with a nurse, where we were able to talk about the benefits and costs of the hospital during the pandemic and how health insurance is impacted in all of it.

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Jimmy Menkhaus approves Desiree Smith's "Career Pathway Observation Proposal". Now complete!

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Desiree Smith (22) began work on Gilmour Academy's Senior Project This pathway is for seniors looking to shadow a professional and learn more about a career.


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Gates Mills, OH

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