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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

SQI participates in Take Your Kid to Work Day

Hands-on activities, facility tours generate interest in sciences

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was celebrated across the United States on April 25, but few itineraries could have matched the variety offered by SQI, the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), and the Northwestern Center for Translational Imaging (CTI). Their joint event featured hands-on demonstrations of microscopy, an introduction to prosthetics and orthotics, and an MRI lesson complete with scans of a preserved brain and different fruits. At CTI, the kids even climbed into a mock MRI machine to see the technology up close.

"It’s our third year of participation in the Take Our Kids to Work initiative and it is a really fun and memorable experience for the kids," said Alexandra Kolot, Assistant Director for Research Facilities at SQI and a co-organizer of the event. "My daughter and her friends love coming to SQI on these days and are always looking forward to it. They say, "At your work, we are learning a ton in a fun way.'"

More than a dozen children ages 7 to 14 participated in the day's activities, which included tours of SQI's administrative offices and core facilities. Because most of the guests were girls, the organizers ensured female scientists were available to discuss their career trajectories and job duties. Medical student Allison Greene shared how SQI is working on growing bones using new materials, and Allie Edelbrock explained how she became a PhD candidate in the biomedical engineering program and demonstrated pipetting techniques.

R.J. Garrick, Project Director for the Resource Unit for Education and Information Services at NUPOC, led a tour of that center, where the children tried on different prosthetics, received foot-pressure maps, and learned about prosthetics training.

SQI staff members Mark McClendon, Mark Karver, Charles Bressan, Kathy Burgess, Maura Walsh, Emily Ayello, and Bradley Tallon helped coordinate other activities. Donny Nieto led the way at CTI, where the children viewed videos of MRIs on live human brains and hearts.

"One parent told me her daughter said, 'Mom, science is more interesting than I thought!'" said Mark Kleinschmit, Director of Research Strategy & Development at SQI and a co-organizer of the event. "And that’s really the goal of this."