Students Combine Science and Fun at UMB

July 28, 2015    |  

Twenty-two students from West Baltimore’s Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School are spending the summer learning about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) while also enjoying more traditional activities such as swimming and playing dodge ball — all on the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus.

Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School teacher and Maryland Carey Law graduate Kirk Crawley, JD ’88, developed the six-week-long experience, which is part STEM program and part summer camp. The program is supported by UMB’s Office of Community Engagement and URecFit and is designed to expose local youth to careers in health, law, and human services while providing fun fitness activities once a week on the UMB campus.

During the first weeks of camp, students spend time at the schools of pharmacy, medicine, social work, nursing, and dentistry honing their forensic skills and receiving mentoring from faculty, staff, and students. After hands-on classroom learning sessions, students switch gears and exercise at URecFit, enjoying supervised athletic activities in the fitness center, swimming pool, and basketball court. The program concludes with a mock trial to be held at Maryland Carey Law on Aug. 14 during which the students will present evidence based on what they’ve learned during their time at UMB.

Camp STEM participants at the School of Nursing

Camp STEM participants at the School of Nursing

On July 24 students visited the School of Nursing’s clinical simulation laboratories, where health care students develop their clinical decision-making skills in a controlled, lifelike environment. In the labs, nursing students guided the youngsters as they used stethoscopes to listen to different heart sounds on the robotic patients and practiced taking blood pressure.

“I have a heart murmur so now I know what it sounds like,” said seventh-grader Donita Wright, who hopes to become a nurse. For eighth-grader Kevin Aduna, taking a robotic patient’s blood pressure was old hat. “My pediatrician lets me take his blood pressure,” said Aduna, who wants to join the military and become a surgeon.

After touring the simulation labs, students visited the School of Nursing’s Living History Museum where they listened to audio histories of nurses recounting stories from previous generations and looked at historic items, including a 19th-century nurse’s uniform, early textbooks and medical apparatus, and wartime letters and photographs collected by nurses serving in the military.

Over a pizza lunch Marchelle Payne-Gassaway, MS, director of admissions at the School of Nursing, encouraged students to follow their dreams to persevere, especially when they doubt themselves. “Think about the goals you want to achieve,” said Payne-Gassaway. “That can-do spirit will help you move to bigger and better things. Keep your eye on the prize.”