STEM Program Connects a New Generation to Scientific Inquiry
PITTSBURGH (October 9) – “Keeping The Beat, Keeping The Time,” a public service announcement (PSA) focusing on heart health, won a STEM competition for Pittsburgh Public Schools students as part of the Magee Summit, an international conference focusing on women’s health in Pittsburgh.
The competition, part of a partnership between Magee-Womens Research Institute and Pittsburgh Public Schools, is meant to spur interest in science — particularly surrounding women’s health — in the next generation.
“To truly move the needle in women’s health outcomes, we need to better connect with the people whose lives are directly impacted by the work our researchers do in the lab every day,” said Michael Annichine, chief executive officer of the institute. “This partnership allowed us to introduce a new group of young minds to the promise of scientific inquiry, and hopefully inspire them to carry this work forward.”
The PSAs were judged by the institute on the basis of impact and community relevancy. They were produced as part of PPS’ Summer Dreamers Academy, during which students also learned about the underlying topics related to women’s health.
“I wanted to learn something new,” said Jermond LeViege, a ninth grader at Allderdice High School and member of the winning team. Other members included Chloe Ecker from Carrick High School and Jaheim Valcin of Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy. The team learned how to dissect hearts and extract DNA as part of the program.
LeViege said at first he wasn’t sure his team’s entry would win, but added, “No matter how hard you doubt yourself, there’s always the possibility that something positive will happen.”
The work of other teams from the STEM program was displayed in a dedicated corridor at the Summit, which took place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh on Oct. 9 and 10. The event convened an array of international experts on women’s health. It was hosted by the institute, which is the largest institute in the United States devoted exclusively to women’s health.
“We look forward to building on this inaugural program to create future opportunities for PPS students,” said Rhonda Graham, K-12 science supervisor for Pittsburgh Public Schools. “We hope to enjoy a long and productive partnership with Magee-Womens Research Institute.”