Girl Scouts Become Bone Detectives

A Troop of Girl Scouts learn about forensic anthropology during our "Bone Detectives" activity


Our Museum Educator, Marcy Engleman, had a great experience with some girl scouts who are aspiring STEM experts. Here it is in her own words:

Last week I had the opportunity to do an outreach program at the meeting of a Girl Scout troop in southern New Jersey. They booked me to do my Bone Detectives lesson, which shows students about forensics and how to create a biological profile of a person using bones. The girls in the troop ranged from fourth to sixth grade, and were a bit rammy to start. But as soon as I started my lesson, they settled in to learn. They really loved telling me their personal stories, as young students loved to do, of finding animal bones in the woods, as well as helping me find out the age, sex and race of my ‘mystery’ skull. After the lesson was over, I had the chance to sit with the girls in a circle on the floor and have a chat about women in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. It was a great opportunity to inspire the girls through word and action to aspire to great heights in their career path.

A Troop of Girl Scouts learn about forensic anthropology during our "Bone Detectives" activity

CEPI Welcomes Dr. Mossell to the Portrait Gallery

College of Physicians staff pose in front of the portrait of Dr. Nathan Francis Mossell

The walls of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia are covered with the portraits of accomplished College Fellows. This month, we welcomed a fresh face to the portrait collection: Dr. Nathan Francis Mossell.

In 1882, Dr. Mossell became the first African American graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He helped found the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School in West Philadelphia in 1895, where he served as chief-of-staff and medical director until his retirement in 1933. He was also the co-founder of the Philadelphia Academy of Medicine and Allied Sciences as well as the National Medical Association. He is also the uncle of Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, after whom the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School is named. You can learn more about Dr. Mossell’s accomplishments and contributions to medicine here.

We are honored to have his visage grace the hallways of the College.


Reading about leeches today in the library. This image is a detail from a book published in 1816 about the medicinal leech. Another book from 1798 tells of an unfortunate young lady in India “a story is related of a girl being alone,espied a soldier at some distance, who she thought meant to approach her, when, in order to escape his observations ran and hid herself behind some bushes, surrounded by a swamp, filled with leeches, when so great a number fattened upon her, as to occasion her death. The fear of the soldier, no doubt, being greater than the alarm caused by the leeches, she was thereby confined in her situation so long as to afford the leeches opportunity to make vast depredations upon the skin.” What a tragic story!


Out4STEM Masquerade 2015

Out4STEM Students showing off their masks at the Masquerade 2015

For the past two years the Out4STEM program has hosted a Masquerade event around the time of Halloween. We started this year’s event on October 29, 2015, with a discussion of Dr. Henry Anonymous who said “I’m a homosexual, I am a psychiatrist” to a convention of the American Psychiatric Association in 1972.  He had to wear a mask and a wig to discuss himself or he would have been fired from his job at Temple University.  Homosexuality was still classified as a mental illness at that time.  22 years later, Dr. John E Fryer revealed that he was “Dr. Henry Anonymous.”  Out4STEM honors this piece of LGBT history with a mask-decorating session where participants decorate a mask with what they show on the outside and what they hide written on the inside.  This forms the basis of a discussion on individual identity and the perceptions of others.

One Out4STEM student shows off a mask made at the annual Out4STEM Masquerade event, 10/29/15

The Day of the Dead Comes Alive at the College of Physicians!

Misc items from the Mutter Museum Day of the Dead event, 10/31/15

This past Saturday, several of out Karabots Junior Fellows helped deliver tricks and treats to visitors of the Mütter Museum.

On October 31, the Mütter Museum hosted its annual Day of the Dead celebration, a fun, family-friendly event honoring the Mexican festival Dia de los Muertos. Visitors to the Museum took part in traditional activities, including designing sugar skulls, paper flower making, and sampling festive foods. Attendees also took part in face painting in addition to exploring the Mütter Museum’s unique, eclectic collection of medical specimens.

A visitor designing a sugar skull at the Mutter Museum Day of the Dead event, 10/31/15

What made the event especially memorable were the numerous students from the Karabots Junior Fellows Program who were in attendance. Not satisfied with attending, they donated their time: they volunteered with set-up and clean-up, connected with visitors and even helped out with the activities. They served as great ambassadors for the College, and we are proud of their dedication!

KJF4 Fellow Victor showing off his homemade paper flowers at at the Mutter Museum Day of the Dead event, 10/31/15