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Student Spotlight: Alessandra

At age 12, Alessandra "Lexi" Mauricio holds the honor of being the youngest presenter to present at a professional medical conference. She was selected to present her completed research at the 49th Annual Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS), held virtually,November 6-14, 2020. Like all presenters seeking to share their research findings at the prestigious AAGL Congress, Lexi submitted an abstract summarizing her research. All abstracts submitted for consideration were meticulously graded by a scientific committee of expert surgeons who carefully select the lineup of presentations chosen for the AAGL’s Annual Congress. The 12-year-old’s abstract, “Do Children That Play Video Games Perform Better in Surgery?”, was selected for video presentation.

Lexi, who aspires to become a pediatric surgeon, grew up attending medical conferences with her parents. These experiences, encouragement from her parents and teachers, and her passion for science and learning inspired her to begin her research at age 11. Lexi determined that no study had ever investigated the laparoscopic surgical skills of children, so she set out to assess if video game playing had an impact on surgical skill development. Lexi recruited 32 of her 11-year-old classmates who participated in the one-month experiment utilizing a laparoscopic trainer box paired with age-appropriate timed tasks. She then gathered and computed the data using grade-school mathematics. The study determined that children who spent an “average to above-average”amount of time playing video games performed better in completing a designed age-appropriate surgical task compared to children that play less. Lexi also documented other comparisons and analyses: older versus younger kids, gender, hand-dominance, musical players, and degree and type of video game experience. According to Lexi, “the future of medicine and surgery relies on the next generation, and that is us, the children. Our findings may be used to guide the creation of games that promote hand-eye coordination skills that are important in surgery. Furthermore, the results may be used by institutions in formulating curriculums that enhance visual-motor skills in children.”

Lexi's family credits SIG with helping inspire her journey. Her father adds, "SIG was indeed very instrumental with her graphic design (the PowerPoint presentation and the video presentation). More importantly, SIG gave her the mindset in how to prepare, organize, and execute her ideas, the mental preparation, and the confidence she needed for this task. And, ultimately, everything culminated in this. We thank you so much!".

To read the full story on AAGL's website that this posted was adopted from, click here.


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