Students at the Science and Technology Magnet High School in New London are part of the only biomedical program of its kind in New England.
Janet Farquhar, a medical assistant who became a teacher, said the mission is to prepare students who have an interest in going into the biomedical field, whether it's as a lab technician, a nurse, a doctor or veterinarian.
Students take one class each year, with a curriculum that delves into topics like the human body, diseases and interventions.
"These students will have such a tool box when they go to college that it will set them apart from other students," Farquhar said.
Gabe Lozada said he appreciates the hands-on approach.
"We do many labs, it's fun and she has us do models, which is very creative and an interactive way for us to learn," the freshman from Norwich said.
The biomedical program culminates in independent projects, like the one Khushbu Bandya, 17, is working on.
She's extracting DNA from plants to isolate a particular gene and is working about 15 hours a week on the painstaking process.
"I feel like I'm learning a lot. For one, patience. I've messed up so many times doing this. I've had to go back and start over at least five times," she said.
Project Lead The Way, a national organization dedicated to teaching career-oriented skills for 21st century professions involving science and technology administers the biomedical program.
The program started in the late 1990s with about 40 schools and now they are more than 400.
Each needs special certification and every teacher undergoes rigorous training in the curriculum.
Throughout the program, they're asked to explore various careers so they know what's out there.
Students might come into the program thinking they want to be a doctor, but they're exposed to all these other biomedical related careers that they never knew existed, Farquhar said.
Khushbu does want to be an M.D., and is confident she's on the right path to fulfilling that dream.
"I feel like everything I've learned in these for years, I'm going to keep with me for a very long time," she said.