Last year, as a sophomore at Telluride High School, I had my sights set on a mentorship at the local med center for my first semester of my junior year. I approached my mentorship teacher with the idea in mind. She seemed skeptical, saying that in her many years of teaching the mentorship class, she had never seen a student accepted into their program. This only made me more determined.

Because of my interest in the medical field, I emailed Dr. Diana Koelliker who is the director of emergency and trauma services at the Telluride Regional Medical Center. After many emails and an interview, Diana graciously agreed to be my mentor. Now, as a junior, I go to the ER almost every week to watch Dr. Koelliker in her element. I have seen things that would make others skin crawl and injuries that many people could never bear to see. When the ER doesn’t have any patients, Diana enlightens me about her experiences in med school and stories about her residency at the University of Mississippi. She has recently begun to teach me how to suture. I can now do a simple interrupted stitch, a simple continuous stitch and buried sutures. When I first held the clamp and needle in my hand, it felt unfamiliar and foreign, but now, with Diana’s help, I can do many different kinds of sutures interchangeably. Having this valuable skill will be very important in my future profession.

Dr. Koelliker has influenced me in many different wonderful ways, and I cannot begin to thank her enough for everything she has taught me. This experience will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Lila Renke