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Professor Seeks Cancer Patients and Survivors for Service Learning Project

Cheryl Jorcyk, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is seeking participants from the campus community and beyond to work with her senior biology students who are studying the molecular biology of cancer. This project is part of a service-learning component of the class. Jorcyk is looking for four or five cancer patients or survivors who are interested in having students do background research for them about cancer, beginning in early September.

Those who are interested should contact Cheryl Jorcyk at by July 31.

Who might want to participate?

This opportunity may serve as a welcome opportunity for people who are serious information-seekers or those who may be having difficulty understanding the complex language associated with cancer. This opportunity may also benefit clients who are willing to share their story with a college student who wants to pursue cancer research or to become a doctor; these students would be inspired by – and benefit from – carrying with them the personal story of a cancer survivor. This opportunity is applicable to anyone who is anywhere along their cancer survivorship journey.

Jorcyk is aware that people may have concerns about getting cancer information from a student. Jorcyk will talk with all participants before they interact with students so they clearly understand what kind of information students will and won’t be able to provide. She also will vet all of the information students prepare, to make sure the information is accurate and appropriate.

How does it work?

Students meet with their client three to four times over the semester at a public location.

1. At the first meeting, each student will listen to what their client knows about cancer, and will offer a personalized explanation of the basics of the biology of the type of cancer in question.

2. At the second meeting, the student will provide explanations supported by copies of articles or websites. The student may draw pictures or offer analogies to help the client understand the technical aspects of chemo or radiation, or the progression of cancer through stages.

3. At the third and fourth meetings, the student will provide additional resources that highlight prevention, future research, best sources for more information and a list of local organizations that offer more specialized assistance.

Please contact Jorcyk at or (208) 426-4267 with questions, comments or to sign up for this opportunity.