Mariah Smith shares her forensic know-how with Almont students


ALMONT — On Friday, Oct. 28, Almont High School science and art students found themselves captivated with a team of students from Wayne State University’s Pathology Assistant Program.

The team included 2017 AHS graduate Mariah Smith, who is currently pursuing a Pathology Assistant Master’s degree at WSU.

Almont High School science/biology teacher Chris Rohrbeck recalled how Mariah had informed her several years ago that her plans were to become a pathologist.

“A couple of months ago, Mariah reached out to ask if she could come back and share her educational pursuits with today’s students,” Rohrbeck said. “I could not have been more thrilled.”

Students from Wayne State University’s Pathology Assistant Program, including AHS graduate Mariah Smith (far right), presented a program to Almont High School students Friday, Oct. 28.

Rohrbeck said that when Mariah was in her Human Anatomy and Physiology class at AHS, she was already committed to a career as a forensic pathologist.

“I said ‘yes, Mariah,’ you will be a forensic pathologist,” Rohrbeck recalled. “You can, and will, accomplish your goal.”

It was those shared words that made the pair’s reunion all the more joyful and satisfying for both of them.

“We are proud of Mariah for her perseverance,” said Rohrbeck, “and for the inspiration she is for all of us.”

Rohrbeck said the initial plan was for Mariah to come with a couple of peers from the university’s pathology program.

What she did not expect was that Mariah’s entourage would include a cohort of 16 first-year PA students; as well as the director of WSU’s pathology program, Dr. Veralucia Mendes-Kramer.

Rohrbeck said Mariah and her team split into four groups to present the program to more than 300 AHS students during the course of the school day.

“Each presentation was educational and hands-on, offering students the opportunity to hold and palpate some human organs displaying different types of pathology,” said Rohrbeck. “The WSU students explained the reverence required in handling and teaching pathology using these human organ specimens.”

She pointed out that each of the organ specimens (hearts, lung, liver and gall bladder, tongue and trachea) had came from a donor person loved by their family and friends.

“Their donation is revered with the utmost care and respect while learning the pathology of each organ,” Rohrbeck said, adding that no photographs were allowed out of respect for the donor and his/her family.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.