Medical, health professions and pharmacy students from the TTUHSC campus in Amarillo shared their passion for science with local middle school and high school girls Nov. 11 at the 2017 Women in Science Endeavors (WISE) Symposium at Amarillo College. WISE is an annual Amarillo Independent School District event designed to introduce middle school and high school girls to career opportunities in various science-related fields. Students and alumnae from TTUHSC’s Amarillo campus have participated in the event every year since 2008.
At the 2017 symposium, third-year medical students Bernadette Baker, Jade Dharmarpandi and Mary Hamilton showed the girls how to make their own personal first-aid kit. They also taught the girls how to properly bandage various types of wounds, how to identify the basic signs of dehydration and how to place and safely carry someone on a backboard.
Baker said she and her medical school teammates also answered the girls’ questions about medical school, how to apply to college, college life in general and the various paths the girls could take to enter science, technology, engineering and medicine careers.
“I remember being in their position during high school when I was interested in pursuing a career in the sciences, but I was unsure of how to go about it,” Baker said. “Each of the students had their own unique goals they wanted to pursue and I loved discussing those with them.”
School of Pharmacy alumna Mandy Whiteside (Class of 2014) teamed up with current graduate students Heidi Villalba and Daniela Rolph to demonstrate some of the chemistry principles behind the development of perfume. Fourth-year pharmacy students Devan Gonzalez, Stephanie James and Suha Alsalihi introduced the girls to the practice side of pharmacy by helping them make lip balm and lozenges.
To provide the students with a hands-on introduction to different physical therapy screening tools and techniques, School of Health Professions students Meghan Holz, Katherine Meng, Lily Middleton and Kelsey Oglesby broke their presentation into two stations. The first station taught the students how to measure vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate, perform cranial nerve screenings and measure a patient’s range of motion. At the second station the team taught the girls about simulated sensory impairment and provided some assistive device training with gait patterns.
Holz said it was rewarding to watch the girls’ inquisitive looks transition to beaming smiles once they understood the techniques and concepts.
“We were hoping to teach the students more about what physical therapy is as a profession and to demonstrate some of the skills we learn and get to utilize while assisting patients to their recovery,” Holz explained. “As a high school student, I was not aware of what physical therapy was and there were no opportunities like WISE to show me or others. I think WISE is an important program to help instill in these young women the idea that they can pursue whatever dream they may have and to remind them that they can be who or whatever they strive to be. I think this is an incredible event for these young women and I am grateful to have been a part of it.”