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Gwinnett Science Fair Highlights Innovation

February 27, 2020

PCOM Georgia faculty, staff and students represented as guest speakers for breakout sessions, project judges and more.

Like a runway model, Mia glided effortlessly among the middle school students attending a breakout session at the Gwinnett Science, Engineering + Innovation Fair held Friday, February 21 at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. Wearing gym shorts to better demonstrate her cutting edge prosthesis, she explained to the students that she lost her leg at the age of 17 due to a car accident.

Prosthetist Will Holbrook, CP, discussed how he used a computer scanner to make a carbon fiber socket and then added a micro processing knee unit and hydraulic foot and ankle to create Mia’s prosthetic leg. Then, straddling a chair, Rex, who lost his limb below the knee, demonstrated how he can easily remove his prosthesis, also created by Holbrook. PCOM Georgia physical therapy Professor Carol Miller, PT, PhD, discussed how she works with patients like Mia and Rex to regain movement following limb loss.

With the tagline, “2020 Envisioning the Future,” the science fair once again showcased the science aptitude of Gwinnett’s elementary, middle and high school students. Those in attendance had created projects that were winners at their local schools. The students, many wearing their Sunday best, presented them to community judges, including several volunteer PCOM Georgia faculty, students and staff members who helped to determine the overall award winners who will advance to the state science fair.

Projects entitled “The Effects of Environmental Sounds on the Behavior of Canines,” “Smog Vacuum,” “Transportation Device for Elderly Affected by Parkinson’s” and “Thirsty Concrete” were among the 550 best showcased by their creators.

First time volunteer judge and PCOM Georgia Clinical Professor Gary Freed, DO, said, “The variety of projects was amazing as was the passion demonstrated by these young adults. I spent time with each student that I met and felt a sense of satisfaction that I was playing a part in nurturing the next generation of scientists.“

As the former director of the sleep lab at Egleston Hospital, a part of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, for 11 years, Dr. Freed said one project particularly interested him. “A young lady did a study looking at the effects of essential oils on sleep duration. We ended up having a nice discussion and I was able to make some suggestions on how to improve her collection of data (i.e. sleep duration). Given my background, I think she took my suggestions seriously and appreciated that I would spend time talking to a middle school student about sleep medicine.”

Overall 755 students representing 81 schools participated in the science fair. PCOM Georgia was the presenting sponsor and Chief Campus Officer Bryan Ginn had the opportunity to present awards to the overall winners at the evening ceremony attended by the students and their parents.

PCOM Georgia’s School of Pharmacy was also highlighted during the breakout sessions. High school students reflected on the question “Who Should Consider a Pharmacy Career?” presented by Jayden Lee, PharmD, and Michael Lee, PhD.

Using word clouds and quizzes, the two pharmacy faculty members discussed the skills and characteristics necessary to be successful as a pharmacist. Students who enjoy math, biology and chemistry and are naturally empathetic and attuned to detail learned that they should consider this professional healthcare career. In addition, Dr. Lee and Dr. Lee discussed the many career avenues available to pharmacists beyond community pharmacy dispensing.

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit or call 678-225-7500.

    For more information, contact:
    Barbara Myers
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    Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

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