The Karabots Junior Fellows Study Teen Health

Official logo for Teen Health Week 2018

Longtime readers will recall that students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, as well as the Teva Internship and Out4STEM Programs, have been involved in Teen Health Week since its inception (see here and here). Created in 2016 as a joint program of the Center for Education (formerly the Center for Education and Public Initiatives), Real Talk with Dr. Offutt, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Teen Health Week is an annual event that seeks to raise awareness of the unique health issues facing teens. What began in 2016 as Pennsylvania Teen Health Week has rapidly expanded into a global health initiative.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program observe a slide presented by Dr. Laura Offutt as part of a lesson on teen health

Recently, the newest cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program met with Dr. Laura Offutt to talk about issues related to teen health and introduce them to the tenets of Teen Health Week. Dr. Offutt has a background in internal medicine, is a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and was the chief driving force behind the creation of Teen Health Week. She is  also the founder of Real Talk with Dr. Offutt, an accurate, judgment-free health resource for teens. Subjects she addressed with the class included myths surrounding hookah smoking, the dangers of texting and driving, and the risk of sexual assault on college campuses. Later in the semester, the students will help develop an informational toolkit for Teen Health Week 2018 related to mental health.

Teen Health Week 2018 will take place March 18-24, 2018. For more information about THW and how you can get involved, check out our official Teen Health Week website or follow #TeenHealthWeek2018 on Twitter or Instagram.


The Karabots Junior Fellows Challenge Banned Books

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program examine a set of challenged books on display at the Historical Medical Library

September 24-30, 2017, marked the most recent installment of Banned Books Week. Created in 1982 by the American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week calls attention to books that have been challenged or banned by local, state, or federal organizations (particularly libraries and schools), emphasizing the importance of free speech and expression. Described by the ALA as the ”annual celebration of the freedom to read,” Banned Books Week is held every year during the last week of September.

In celebration of Banned Books Week, the new cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows took their first trip to the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. There they met with Beth Lander and Caitlin Angelone, the Library’s College Librarian and Reference Librarian, respectively, who introduced them to the diverse materials the Historical Medical Library has to offer. During their visit, the students entered the library stacks, the climate-controlled space in which the College of Physicians’ vast collection of medical-related books and manuscripts are stored. In the spirit of Banned Books Week, they also viewed several books in the collection that have been challenged for various reasons, including books related to witchcraft and sexual health.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program meet with College Librarian Beth Lander during a tour of the Historical Medical Library

Following their trip to the Library, the students returned to the classroom to discuss the tenets of Banned Books Week. Youth Program Coordinator Kevin Impellizeri challenged them to consider the definitions of “censorship” and “obscenity” and critically examine why individuals or groups would attempt to challenge access to a particular book. They came to the conclusion that “objectionable material” is largely in the eye of the beholder, shaped by a wide variety of factors, including taste, cultural norms, and religious beliefs; as a result, there is no one shared standard for obscenity. They then applied what they learned by going through numerous influential books that have been challenged or banned, including the ALA’s 100 most challenged books of 2000-2009 and selected readings from the 2012 Library of Congress exhibit Books that Shaped America.



The Karabots Junior Fellows Prepare for College

STudents in the KArabots Junior Fellows Program attend a workshop on the college application process

One of the core goals of our youth programs at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is to help Philadelphia high school students from underserved communities navigate the college application process. Groups affected by violence, discrimination, or economic hardships often face numerous obstacles to academic achievement. Moreover, many of our students in the Girls One Diaspora Club, the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, the Out4STEM Program, and the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship will be the first in their families to attend college. Preparing for college can be an intimidating and overwhelming endeavor, even in families with adequate resources and minimal socioeconomic obstacles, and it is our goal to help demystify the process through a series of hands-on workshops.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program attend a workshop on college financial aid held at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Currently the fourth cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, who are now high school seniors, is immersed in the college application process. To help them, the Center for Education has hosted college prep workshops for them and their families; these lessons will continue through the 2017-2018 school year. This month, we tackled two important topics over the course of two sessions. The first addressed financial aid, examining resources available to students to help pay for college. It also went into detail about how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which determines a student’s eligibility for need-based federal and state financial aid (beginning in 2017, the FAFSA is available beginning on October 1, three months sooner than it has traditionally). The second session was an in-depth look at the college application process, addressing what students and families need to know when filling out applications, including a walkthrough of the Common App, a unified college application accepted by roughly 650 colleges and universities.

Youth Program Coordinator Kevin Impellizeri introduces students to upcoming college preparation dates

The old saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child. We are committed to serving as citizens in each of our students’ success.

What they Did On their Summer Vacation: The Karabots Junior Fellows

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows and Penn SUMR Scholars Programs pose on the marble staircase at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Image courtesy of the Penn SUMR Scholars Program

A few weeks ago, the Center for Education welcomed the newest cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, who took part in an intensive two weeks of medical and STEM education. This year’s theme was Anatomy & Armor, focusing on the natural and artificial ways humans and animals protect themselves from trauma, disease, and predators. During ten content-packed days, they met with guest speakers, took part in hands-on activities, and traveled to interesting locations around the city. Along the way they also learned about subjects in anatomy, general health and wellness, and even a little bit about professionalism and preparing for their future careers.

Week One:

Our program began with our new students getting to know both each other and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. We welcomed twenty-two students in total, representing a wide variety of backgrounds, neighborhoods, and schools. In a short amount of time, they got to know each other and learned how to work together, taking part in a variety of team-building activities. In keeping with our established history of game-based learning, among their activities was a play session of Steel Plate Games’ Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, a cooperative computer game that relies heavily on teams learning how to communicate with each other to achieve a common goal: defusing a virtual bomb. In addition to better getting to know each other, they received an introduction to our organization, complete with a tour of the Mütter Museum.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program play the cooperative computer game "Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes"

On their second day, the Junior Fellows received an immersive experience in the world of physical therapy, examining trauma and recovery. The theme of the day was a scenario in which a patient was injured in a car accident; over the course of their sessions, the students met with health care professionals and took part in activities related to emergency care and rehabilitation. They met with a sophisticated dummy designed to simulate real-life medical conditions, learned how to measure a patient’s vital signs, and practiced using assistive equipment such as wheelchairs and crutches.

Students in the KArabots Junior Fellows Program monitor each other's blood pressure at Drexel University's Physical Therapy Lab

Along the way they took part in lessons related to skin and the human skeleton. Healthcare professionals introduced them to careers in biomedical engineering, sports medicine, neurology, and anesthesiology. They also learned about modern and historic armors. They traveled to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to explore their armory and learn about the design choices that went into medieval armor. A representative from Temple University’s Red Diamond Battalion visited the College of Physicians of Philadelphia to show them modern military protective gear. A former student in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program demonstrated modern athletic equipment.

Week Two:

Their second week began with a day of activities and speakers related to the anatomy of animals. Speakers addressed topics related to comparative anatomy and veterinary medicine. Along the way, the students got to meet live animals, including a snake and a tortoise. The day concluded with a trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, where our Karabots Junior Fellows broke into teams and took part in a photo scavenger hunt designed to teach them about natural forms of armor as well as introduce them to the diverse programming the Academy has to offer (fun fact: College of Physicians of Philadelphia Fellow Joseph Leidy served as both the Librarian and Chief Curator for the Academy and was influential in the field of paleontology).

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program pose in front of a dinosaur display at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Several activities this week addressed ways they can help protect and maintain their “armor.” Following a morning yoga session, the students met with experts in nutrition and personal fitness, learning healthy eating habits as well as a bit about self defense. They also learned about the dangers of substance abuse. This led into a series of activities related to first aid, where they learned how to set a splint and what to do in case someone they know experiences a drug or alcohol overdose. They also learned about the benefits of aerobic exercise, taught in part through a session of the rhythm-based video game series Dance Dance Revolution.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program take part in a yoga session.

Our students also cultivated their research, public speaking, and networking skills. During their first week, the Karabots Junior Fellows divided into groups and selected a specimen from the Mütter Museum. Through the course of the two weeks, they researched their specimen in preparation to deliver small tours to visiting students from the University of Pennsylvania’s SUMR (Summer Undergraduate Research) Program. The SUMR scholars are undergraduate students from underrepresented communities who come to Penn for the summer to get involved in healthcare research projects. Both they and the Karabots students had the opportunity to share their knowledge and get to know each other over museum tours and pizza. Our students also took part in sessions on establishing effective professional connections, building a successful resume, and professional email and social media use.

Wayne Cooper, one of the Karabots Junior Fellows poses with a sample of various vertebrate hearts during a sheep heart dissection

Despite being so full of activities, the week flew by quickly. By the end of the two week session, our students had a better understanding of some of the exciting healthcare careers available to them. We are eager to share more opportunities with them when they return in the fall.

The Karabots Junior Fellows Race Around the Umlaut

Students in the KArabots Junior Fellows Program stand on a stage in Mitchell Hall at the College of physicians of Philadlephia. They receive small trophies for competing in an educational game show.

Regular readers to our blog will know that in the past we have utilized game-based learning into our youth programs. Students have learned about crime scene investigation by exploring virtual crime scenes; they studied vaccines by testing a game about historic vaccinations; and even designed forensics-themed games of their own. Interactive game shows have become a regular CEPI staple, challenging our students to test their memories over topics in healthcare, STEM, and CEPI programming. Our games-based approach has also extended to events such as Pennsylvania Teen Health Week 2017 and the Philadelphia Science Festival.

Youth Program Coordinator Kevin Impellizer (dressed in a lab coat and goggles) gestures to a projection screen, on which a Jeopardy-style game board is projected. The game took place at the "Friday the 13th @ the Mütter" event at the College of Physicians of Philadlephia

Recently, we carried the game show format even further, converting the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Mitchell Hall into a massive board game. Titled Race Around the Umlaut, students from the Karabots Junior Fellows Program broke into small small teams of contestants to compete in a variety of challenges. Some of these challenges reviewed information they had learned in lessons from throughout the semester while others tested their general knowledge. Among the ways they put their mental might to the test: they reviewed news headlines in an effort to pick out real from “fake news”; they attempted to match SAT words with their definitions; they tried to answer SAT/ACT math problems in a tense race against the clock; and they even competed in a fast-past game of Operation. Teams competed for glory and fabulous prizes and demonstrated the power of games to convert class into an exciting, competitive atmosphere.

A student in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program leans over a game of Operation while another student looks on. Part of a game show activity.

Deadlines Extended for All CEPI Youth Program Applications

The 2016 cohort of the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship program pose with Teva employees and hold certificates of completion for completing their summer internship

Are you interested in applying to be part of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, the Out4STEM Program, or the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program? There is still time.

CEPI is proud to announce we are extended our application deadline to FRIDAY, MAY 12, 2017. For more information, check out the respective sites for each program. You can download the applications below:

Karabots Junior Fellows Program: APPLY NOW

Out4STEM Internship Program: APPLY NOW

Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship: APPLY NOW


The Karabots Junior Fellows Explore Imperfecta

The Karabots Junior Fellows meet with Mütter Museum exhibit developer Michael Keys to discuss the Museum's new exhibit: Imperfecta

As part of a semester-long project, several members of the current cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program will be developing their own exhibit. To help them in their process, the Fellows recently met with Michael Keys, Exhibit Designer for the Mütter Museum. Michael took this opportunity to introduce them to the Mütter Museum’s latest exhibit: Imperfecta. Imperfecta “examines the shifting perceptions about abnormal human development, from fear and wonder to curiosity and clinical science.” Through historic texts and select human specimens the exhibit addresses a subject known historically as “teratology,” addressing how unusual or abnormal births have been examined scientifically and culturally. Michael walked them through the exhibit, explaining the rationale behind the selection of certain objects and his method for transforming the exhibit from idea to reality. He helped them gain insight into not only exhibit development but the possibility of careers in exhibit design.

The Karabots Junior Fellows meet with Mütter Museum exhibit developer Michael Keys to discuss the Museum's new exhibit: Imperfecta

You can view Imperfecta for yourself here at the Mütter Museum.