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Unionville Graduate Sophie Wilks Wins Research Award

Washington and Lee University sophomore and Unionville High School graduate Sophie Wilks ’21 has won a $4,300 Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarship for a project that she is working on titled “A Mixed-Methods Exploration of Sleep Among Children and Adolescents with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).” Wilks is a biology major.

“The project is run by a team of several pulmonologists at the AI DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, which is my hometown,” said Wilks. “The aim of the project includes learning more about the sleep health and hygiene of children with cystic fibrosis and helping those children improve their sleep health. We will be working with the families of the children with CF, as well.”

She said, “The experiences I have had in my science labs have taught how to work in a team environment toward a common goal,” Wilks said. “I have learned how to be patient, even when I don’t get the result I was expecting, and I have learned to persevere, even when problems are very difficult. I think that the interpersonal communication skills I have learned at W&L will make an important difference in working on a clinical research team, because communication is so important when working with human subjects.”

Wilks is excited to work in a hospital and learn more about the world of clinical research and medicine.

“I think this experience is going to be extremely valuable for me no matter what I decide to do with my career,” Wilks said. “I expect to learn a lot about cystic fibrosis and pulmonology and even more about how to interact with different people.”