Philly Teens Take Part in the Hour of Code

Philadelphia teens learning to program during the Hour of Code

Part of CEPI’s goal is to encourage and foster STEM education among Philadelphia students. On December 10, the College of Physicians took part in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a global initiative to get people interested in computer science, challenging them to try coding for one hour. Twenty students representing the Teva Internship Program, Out4STEM, and the Karabots Junior Fellows Program came out to learn some of the basic principles of computer programming with the help of Minecraft, Mojang software’s popular world-building and exploration game, and CEPI educators Quincy Riley-Greene and Kevin Impellizeri. Students worked together and in small groups to use code to solve puzzles and have fun along the way. We are proud of all our students who took part and look forward to hosting similar programs in the future!

Students working together during the Hour of Code

If you are interested in learning to code yourself or in hosting an Hour of Code session, has a wellspring of resources available. Happy coding!

Teva Students Meet the Momplaisirs

Students in the Teva Program pose with Thierry and Florence Momplaisir

The Teva Internship Program brings healthcare professionals together with Philadelphia teens to share their experiences and encourage these kids to pursue medical careers.

On December 3, the students met with Thierry and Florence Momplaisir. Thierry Momplaisir is an interventional cardiologist at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Cherry Hill, NJ, and he was recently featured in an article in the New York Times on recent innovations in emergency treatment for heart disease. Florence Momplaisir is a infectious disease specialist, focusing on HIV infection, and a faculty member at Drexel Medicine.

The two shared their experiences growing up, getting through medical school, and emerging as leading members of their field. They encouraged our students to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.

Getting in the Heads of the Hyrtl Skull Collection

Image of the Hyrtl Skull Collection at the Mütter Museum


The following was written by Michaela Peterson, a high school student from Science Leadership Academy.

One of my favorite exhibits at the Mütter Museum is the Hyrtl Skull collection. The collection consists of 139 skulls collected by Viennese anatomist Joseph Hyrtl. Hyrtl collected these skulls to disprove Phrenology, a “science” that says you can tell a person’s intelligence based on the size and measurements of the skull. This racist practice was used to assert that, because the African skull shape is different from white men’s, they were inherently stupid and meant for slavery. Though there are few skulls from Africa in Hyrtl’s collection, he was able to display the vast difference in size and shape in Caucasian skulls, proved that intelligence had nothing to do with skull shape.

Hyrtl wrote a synopsis of what he knew of each person’s life on their skulls. These synopses might include the person’s name, age, cause of death, occupation, where they were from, and any other relevant information. There are several interesting stories that can be found in the skulls. Two of my favorites are the tight-rope walker who died from a broken neck and Francesca, the famous Venetian prostitute. Every skull is from a different place, a different person, each with their own incredible story.

When you are looking at the skulls, it puts a lot of things in perspective. Even though most of these people never met, never even lived in the same area, all of their stories are being told right next to each other. It’s amazing what can happen to the stories that are our lives after we die. For all we know, we might become someone’s favorite story from a museum or a book. It is also a startling reminder that everything in this museum is real. These skulls and skeletons and wax models have pasts. They have stories about the people who lived with them. And just that thought, that realization allows you to marvel at the complex, and sometimes terrifying, piece of art that is the human body. You are a living, breathing thing that thinks and sees and wonders. And so were they. They have stories. What will yours be?


The College of Physicians Commemorates World AIDS Day 2015


College of Physicians Steps for World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2015

Last year, 624 Philadelphia residents were diagnosed with HIV, and the majority of people who currently have HIV are not aware they carry the disease.

December 1, 2015, was World AIDS Day, a day devoted to raising HIV/AIDS awareness. The College of Physicians hosted a day-long event to promote treatment and care, make the public aware of the history of the disease, provide remembrance for victims, and to encourage people to get tested.  To that end, the College offered free on-site HIV, Hepatitus-C, and STD testing, with free admission to the Mütter Museum for any visitor who took part. Several local related organizations were on hand to promote awareness. The site also displayed sections of the AIDS memorial quilt, memorializing the victims of HIV and AIDS, as well as “1981-Until It’s Over,” a visual timeline of the AIDS epidemic developed by the AIDS Fund.”  The event concluded with a performance by poet Gweny Love, accompanied by local teens.

A portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt