Aurora LIGHTS at WSHS: Pathway Toward Medical Success

William Smith High School student Laura Ferrufino researches specimens under the microscope.

Story by Leslie Fajardo
APS Communication Team Intern

Remember when the school day consisted of getting to class, taking notes and leaving? No? Neither do the students at William Smith High School.

With approximately 250 students, William Smith specializes in expeditionary learning and serves as a host site for the pathway to Aurora LIGHTS (LeadInG the way to careers in HealTh Sciences), a program that focuses mainly on medical science and health careers. Aurora LIGHTS provides support for students who want to pursue a career in the medical field. The Aurora LIGHTS curriculum in Project Lead the Way (PLTW), Human Body Systems (HBS) and Medical Interventions (MI) allow for integrated project-based student work.

The Aurora LIGHTS program authentically coincides with expeditionary learning at William Smith, making the program a unique experience for every student. Expeditionary learning, for example, allows the students to do the same type of hands-on work as a scientist, doctor, artist, writer or actor. The opportunities that come along with the Aurora LIGHTS curriculum include internships and hospital field work, which are worked into each student’s schedule.

 “The way we have Aurora LIGHTS set up supports students to pursue careers in the medical field. Students have the opportunity to build strong backgrounds in humanities, not just science.” - David Roll, principal, William Smith High School

Aurora LIGHTS at William Smith is an equal access program and the school focuses on student’s academic strengths and desire to work hard. Currently, a number of students at William Smith have taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in the program, where they excel and learn new things.

 “I feel like Aurora LIGHTS is building a strong foundation for my future, so I can be a successful doctor,” said student Laura Ferrufino. “It’s also super interesting because in past years I have done what a medical student does, including going to a cadaver lab, practicing with patients and many more interesting things.”

For more information about Aurora LIGHTS, visit