Let Curiosity Set Sail at the Independence Seaport Museum

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program pilot a small submarine in a pool in the lobby of the Independence Seaport Museum

Did you know that during the 1940s, the Delaware River was so polluted, no organisms that relied on oxygen to survive could live in it? Or that Frederick Douglas escaped slavery by posing as a sailor? This was one of many surprising facts the students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program learned during a recent visit to the Independence Seaport Museum.

Founded in 1960 as the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, the Independence Seaport Museum seeks “to deepen the understanding, appreciation, and experience of the Philadelphia region’s waterways.” It carries out its mission through exhibits, interactive activities, and historic artifacts. Among the items in their diverse collection are tools, paper records, model ships, and two historic maritime vessels: the Cruiser Olympia and the submarine USS Becuna. Recently, the Karabots Junior Fellows visited the Seaport Museum to learn more about maritime history, ecology, and the unique impact Philadelphia’s waterways have influenced local, national, and international history.

Upon their arrival, the students broke into small groups and took part in a photo scavenger hunt designed to immerse them in the exhibits, activities, and artifacts the Seaport Museum has to offer. Among the museum’s offerings are Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River, a frank depiction of the African American experience in Philadelphia relative to shipping, sea travel, and manufacturing; a recreation of the bridge of a US Navy destroyer, numerous model ships (some of which were built by inmates at Eastern State Penitentiary), and a traditional boat shop where volunteers still practice boat building.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program play a search and rescue game at the Independence Seaport Museum

After exploring the site on their own, the students took part in Ecology of the Delaware, a hands-on lesson aimed at teaching environmental history and the important role the Delaware River plays in the daily lives of people living in the Delaware Valley. During the lesson, they conducted various tests on Delaware River water, including measuring depth, temperature, PH levels, and phosphate content.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program take part in the Ecology of the Delaware lesson at the Independence Seaport Museum

After our activities concluded, several opted to stay and explore the Cruiser Olympia and the submarine USS Becuna. Overall the experience gave our students a greater appreciation of the impact of Philadelphia’s waterways.

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The Karabots Junior Fellows at National Biomechanics Day 2018

A Drexel graduate student attaches a motion sensor to a student's arm during National Biomechanics Day 2018

National Biomechanics Day is a global initiative that aims to introduce high school students and teachers to the field of biomechanics. Celebrated on April 11, organizations all over the world take part in hands-on activities to demonstrate the concepts of biomechanics and its diverse applications. During this year’s program, the fifth cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program traveled to the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions to learn the ways scientists are using biomechanics to assist in physical therapy and recovery.

Breaking into small groups, the students met with Drexel graduate students, who oversaw interactive activities using mechanical sensors and detection equipment to map the way human bodies move, valuable information when monitoring a patient’s recovery and identifying potential mobility issues. At one station, students made use of MOCAP equipment to map out leg movement. Short for “motion capture,” mocap involves using a system of sensors to digitally record a person’s movement; popularized in video game design, mocap has myriad practical applications, including in the field of physical therapy. At another station, the students donned special sensors on their arms to record and monitor arm movement while performing simple tasks, such as lifting small weights and push-ups. The final station sought to transform physical therapy into an interactive game (game-based learning is no stranger to the Karabots Junior Fellows Program). Graduate students utilized a Microsoft Xbox Kinect, a motion-capture sensor designed for specialized video games (although it also has been used for scientific and medical applications) to map a players physical movements in order to play the arcade classic Pac-Man.

A student in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program jumps as he plays Pac-Man using a motion-detecting sensor at National Biomechanics Day

By jumping, flexing, and moving around, our students learned the different exciting ways biomechanics can be used to help patients recover from trauma and strengthen their mobility. We are thankful to Clare Milner, PhD, FACSM, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, Drexel University, and the rest of her time for an exciting event.

The Karabots Junior Fellows Identify the Building Blocks of Cancer

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program take part in an activity about cancer biology by assembling walls made of Legos

Cancer is caused by miscommunications in cells brought upon by mutations in a patient’s DNA. Recently students in the fifth cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program explored this concept using candy and Lego blocks.

A few weeks ago, the students met with Brad Davidson, a professor of developmental biology at Swarthmore College. Davidson, along with a student intern and members of the Center for Education, will be working with the Karabots students to design a Mütter Museum exhibit on cancer biology. In order to provide a basic insight into how cancer behaves, Davidson devised an interactive activity. Longtime followers of the blog will recall interactive and game-based activities are not unusual here at the Center for Education. Past lessons have taught the scientific method through a room escape, students designed games to teach the public about forensics, and we have done many, many quiz games. However, we’ve never integrated taste into our lessons, until now.

Dr. Davidson instructed the students to break into pairs. One student handled different flavors of candy and the other had a handful of Legos. Each candy corresponded with a different type of block. The pair had to attempt to build a wall out of blocks, using only taste to communicate. The student with the snacks fed specific candies to the student with the blocks; this was to illustrate how cell genes send signals to produce certain kinds of cells. Once they completed this activity, Davidson prepared new instructions to illustrate the way cancer interrupts this communication. The second phase of this activity had the student with the candy send conflicting messages, resulting in irregular or misshapen block walls in fashion similar to the way miscommunications between cells whose DNA is altered by cancer create cancer cells.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program take part in an activity about cancer biology by assembling walls made of Legos

Overall, Davidson’s innovative activity successfully conveyed the message and gave our students a useful framework for when they begin to develop their exhibit.

 

Philly Teens Show Their Support for Teen Health

Teens pose on the marble steps of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia during a March 23, 2018, Teen Health Week panel on substance use and abuse

Did you know that opioid overdoses claim 116 lives every day? Or that at least 25% of teens in the US admit to using at least one form of tobacco? Or that 60% of teens admit to experimenting with alcohol? Last Friday, a group of Philadelphia teens assembled at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia to learn about substance use and abuse.

The event was part of the College’s involvement in Teen Health Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of the unique health issues facing teens today. Teen Health Week was the brainchild of College of Physicians Fellow Dr. Laura Offutt, in conjunction with the Center for Education of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. What started in 2016 as a statewide initiative to raise awareness among Pennsylvania teens has rapidly expanded into a global program, with participating events and activities in nearly forty countries on every continent except Antarctica.

World map with green marks to indicate places where THW 2018 events are taking place

Teens gathered in the Thomson gallery to meet with a panel of healthcare and public health experts to discuss topics related to substance use. Priya Mammen, MD, MPH, a Director of Public Health Programs, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia shared her experience as an ER physician, answering questions related to a variety of emergency cases, including trauma and drug overdoses. Elvis Rosado, Education and Community Outreach Coordinator from Prevention Point Philadelphia, explained the devastating cycle of addiction in relation to the opioid epidemic. Finally,  representatives from Get Healthy Philly (the City of Philadelphia’s anti-tobacco initiative) discussed tobacco use in teens and the ways tobacco companies attempt to directly target teens as new tobacco customers.

Students in attendance also got the chance to show off their knowledge of teen health topics. Teams of teens took part in a teen health-themed quiz game, competing to answer questions related to mental health, stress, self-care, and substance use. All of our contestants came away with small prize packets of THW merchandise. The event also hosted a raffle for THW-themed yoga mats and a photo booth.

Teens dressed in lime green t-shirts pose together for a photograph during a March 23, 2018, Teen Health Week panel on substance use and abuse

Overall, we were excited by the outpouring of support from Philadelphia teens, who came out, wore lime green, asked great questions, and expressed their passion for taking control of their personal health. In a time of increased teen activism, it was heartening to behold.

If you want to learn more about Teen Health Week, be sure to check out our official homepage or check out the hashtag #2018teenhealth on Twitter and Instagram.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Celebrates Teen Health Week 2018

Official logo for Teen Health Week 2018

Teen Health Week 2018 is only one week away! What started in 2016 as Pennsylvania Teen Health Week has rapidly expanded into a global health initiative to raise awareness of the unique health issues facing teens. During the week (March 18-24), events will be taking place in over thirty countries as well as in cyberspace through social media (#2018teenhealth on Twitter and Instagram). As a founding member of THW, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia will host a pair of events specifically focusing on two of THW’s important themes.

On Wednesday, March 21, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia will be hosting a special event devoted to mental health. Experts will talk about topic relevant to teen mental health, including time management, self care, coping with stress, and music therapy. Compete in mental health-themed games and meet with professionals. Festivities will take place here at the College, 4-7PM, and is free for teens and anyone who wears lime green (the official color of Teen Health Week).

Teen Health Week Event at Philadelphia, United States of America, on January 13 2017. Photo: Hieu Pham

On Friday, March 23, we will host a panel discussion on Substance Use and Abuse with experts discussing such topics as tobacco and the opioid epidemic. Come meet with experts, learn the facts about substance use, and network over ice cream! The event will take place at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 5-7PM. Admission is free for all teens and anyone who comes wearing lime green!

Green "Teen Health Week" wristbands on display atop several Mütter Museum store books.

For more information about Teen Health Week, including resources to help get involved, check out our website.

Now Accepting Applications for the Out4STEM Internship Program!

Students in the Out4STEM Internship Program pose wearing homemade masks

We are excited to announce the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 cohort of the Out4STEM Internship Program!

The Out4STEM Internship Program is a one-year, summer and after-school internship program aimed at LGBTQIA high school students in Philadelphia who have an interest in healthcare/medicine or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Program also seeks to address the unique challenges facing LGBTQ youth Philadelphia in an accepting, STEM-oriented safe space. The Program takes advantage of the unique resources of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, including the world-famous Mütter Museum, the Historical Medical Library, and our vast network of Fellows to create an engaging experience unlike any other youth program.

During the course of the program, students will achieve the following goals:

  • Learn about careers related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and healthcare/medicine.
  • Cultivate relationships between like-minded, motivated Philadelphia LGBTQIA students and professionals.
  • Develop a greater understanding of the body’s physiological response to stress.
  • Facilitate stress relieving techniques.
  • Address the impact of bullying and discrimination and develop responses.
  • Learn to communicate, heal, and build a community
  • Acquire practical job skills in a healthcare field by successfully completing a Phlebotomy Technician Certification (CPT)

The program consists of two parts. The first is a four-week summer internship that takes place through the month of July (the upcoming summer internship will take place July 5-27, 2018). The second part is an after-school program that takes place once a week through the 2018-2019 school year. Transit tokens to and from all events will be supplied by the Center for Education. Students will also receive a stipend upon successful completion of the program. With the exception of off-site field trips, all activities will take place at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (19 South 22nd Street).

Students in the OUt4STEM internship program examine plaster molds of footprint impressions during a lesson on crime scene investigation at Arcadia University

If you are interested in joining the Out4STEM Internship Program, you can fill out our online application. We require all students receive permission from a parent or guardian and provide contact information for a teacher or other adult mentor (coach, youth group leader, religious leader, etc.) who will serve as a reference. In order to better get to know you, we ask that you include in your application the answer the following question:

“What aspect of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is most interesting to you and why? How has identifying as LGBTQ influenced your interests in STEM?”

Your answer can take the form of a brief essay (MAX 750 words) or a video (MAX 10 minutes). If you choose to create a video, the format is up to you; just remember to answer the above prompt. Application materials must be submitted no later than 11:59PM on Monday, April 30, 2018.

If you have any questions, contact Quincy Greene, Youth, Support Coordinator. You can also learn more about the Out4STEM Internship Program by consulting our website.

The Out4STEM Internship program is made possible through a generous grant from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Now Accepting Applications for the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program!

Students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program pose in the Liberty Place Observation Deck

Are you a Philadelphia high school sophomore or junior who is interested in learning more about science, technology, engineering or math? Do you have a passion for social justice? Have you been affected by personal or community violence? If you answered “YES,” then you may be a strong candidate for the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program. We are currently accepting applications for students for our 2018-2019 cohort.

The Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program is a one-year summer and after-school internship directed at Philadelphia high school students with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) who have been impacted by community violence. Interns take part in lessons and activities designed to cultivate their strength and interest in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; meet and interact with professionals in various STEM fields; learn to devise methods of coping with and responding to personal violence and violence in their communities; and cultivate a network of professional and emotional support among their peers. The Program also takes advantage of the unique resources of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, including the world-famous Mütter Museum, the Historical Medical Library, and our vast network of Fellows to create an engaging experience unlike any other youth program.

The program focuses on the following themes:

  • Learning and applying forensic techniques such as crime scene investigation, fingerprinting, and ballistics.
  • Understanding the health system’s response to individuals with traumatic gunshot wounds, including emergency room procedures, rehabilitation, and physical therapy
  • Understanding the body’s physiological response to stress and stress relief techniques
  • Learning to talk, heal, and build community with your peers.
  • Learning to network with STEM professionals and future mentors.

The program consists of two parts. The first is a four-week summer internship that takes place through the month of July (the upcoming summer internship will take place July 5-27, 2018). The second part is an after-school program that takes place once a week through the 2018-2019 school year. Transit tokens to and from all events will be supplied by the Center for Education. Students will also receive a stipend upon successful completion of the program. With the exception of off-site field trips, all activities will take place at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (19 South 22nd Street).

Students from the Center for Education's youth programs gather evidence from a human dummy simulating a victim at the Arcadia Crime Scene House

If you are interested in learning about exciting careers in STEM and want to help make a difference in your community, you can fill out our online application. Any rising 11-12th grader (will be in 11th or 12th grade in the upcoming school year) currently enrolled at a school in the Philadelphia School District (including charter schools) is welcome to apply; however, students from private schools are NOT eligible to apply. There are no costs to enroll or be enrolled in the program. We require all students receive permission from a parent or guardian and provide contact information for a teacher or other adult mentor (coach, youth group leader, religious leader, etc.) who will serve as a reference. In order to better get to know you, we ask that you include in your application the answer the following question:

“Based on your personal experience, explain how violence have affected your life or your community. What is one possible solution to reduce the impact of violence on you or your community?”

Your answer can take the form of a brief essay (MAX 750 words) or a video (MAX 10 minutes). If you choose to create a video, the format is up to you; just remember to answer the above prompt. Application materials must be submitted no later than 11:59PM on Monday, April 30, 2018.

If you have any questions, contact Quincy Greene, Youth, Support Coordinator. You can also learn more about the Teva Internship Program by consulting our website.

The Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship program is made possible through a generous grant from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.