Alexus Inscho has won a state medal in cross country, accepted a scholarship to run distance in college, and now written and published a book — all in her senior year at North.
The story of Inscho has become a favorite for North coach Michael Pope: How she came to him as a slight freshman four years ago, worked tirelessly, and now is leaving with a state medal from an 11th place finish in the Class 6A cross country meet as a senior.
So it didn’t surprise Pope when he heard Inscho had published her own 107-page book, “ A World Traveler’s Guide to Dermatology,” as her senior project for her biomedical innovations class at North.
“She has always been a pretty goal-driven kid,” Pope said. “If there is something she thinks she can do, then she just goes out there and works hard until she accomplishes whatever she set out to do. It’s not surprising at all that Lexi would come up with something innovative like that.”
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Inscho said she never aspired to become a published author, just like she never would have dreamed of winning a state medal in Class 6A as a freshman.
“I would have never thought anything like this would happen,” Inscho said. “I’ve always been a fan of literature, so to be able to say I’m a published author now is amazing. The book itself exceeded my standards, so I was pretty happy with the overall process and the result.”
This is the first year biomedical innovations was offered as a class in North’s bio-med program. When teacher Hannah Kelderman assigned the project, it came with the stipulation that students had to spend at least 20 hours over the course of the semester on their project.
Inscho logged more than four times that amount.
“Lexi is just one of those students who is going to go above and beyond what’s required of her and you can see that with her book,” Kelderman said. “She set the bar extremely high for only the first year of the class and I think her book will be a challenge to the other students that come after her in the bio-med program, like, ‘Can you beat this?’ ”
At first, Inscho wasn’t sure what she wanted to do for the project. But after discussing it with Kelderman, she decided to combine two of her interests — traveling and dermatology — and write a book because Inscho’s ambition exceeded the limits of an MLA-formatted paper.
While researching, Inscho discovered there wasn’t an accessible guide to skin diseases and conditions to the general public. Also, the information that was available only showed the diseases on light skin tones.
So in her book, which is available as a free PDF download, Inscho included pictures of all skin tones and broke down different skin conditions that are common on six continents. Inscho has a handful of printed copies of the book, but uploaded it on Google Drive because she wants the information accessible to as many people as possible.
“I wanted to create something that put basic information out there that anybody could understand and aid them with a resource that could help when they travel,” Inscho said. “I put a general description for each disease and the signs and symptoms, as well as treatment options that are available and prevention. I also put pictures of all skin tones, from light to dark, because I found that most of the resources out there lacked pictures of skin diseases on dark skin tones.”
Inscho, who has signed to run at Allen County, plans to major in biology and wants to attend medical school after her competitive running career is finished.
But Inscho has a final goal in mind before she graduates this spring: return to the state meet at Cessna Stadium and win her first state medal on the track with a top-8 finish in the 3200 meters. Inscho, who will run next on Tuesday at the East relays, has a season-best time of 11 minutes, 57.25 seconds that ranks as the 26th-fastest time in the state this season.
“It would mean everything to me,” Inscho said. “When I got (a state medal) in cross country, it was an overwhelming feeling. I cried because it was something I wanted for the longest time. Just being able to accomplish so many things in one year, it’s been an amazing feeling and I’m really grateful for everything.”