Students, faculty and staff served as judges for hundreds of STEM projects and showcased the College’s academic programs.
Supporting the Gwinnett Science, Engineering and Innovation Fair, the premiere showcase in Gwinnett County which honors elementary, middle and high school students’ demonstrated excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, is a five year tradition for PCOM Georgia.
As the presenting sponsor, the College has numerous opportunities to interact with these award-winning students, all of whom are representing their schools as top winners.
According to Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Jessica Holden, Director of Science, grades 6-12, and Deborah Martin, Director of Mathematics, grades 6-12, the goal of the event is to open students’ minds to a new line of thinking, allow them to discover new passions, and, ultimately encourage them to innovate ways to change the world.
About 30 faculty members, along with students and staff from PCOM Georgia, served as judges for the event, themed the “Promise of Innovation,” which was held February 22, 2019, at the Infinite Energy Forum in Duluth. More than 650 middle and high school students presented projects, while 79 elementary school students, who had showcased their projects at their schools, joined them at the evening awards ceremony.
Srujana Rayalam, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, observed, “I love to see how these young minds approach a research problem and interpret their results…I’m glad to be a part of this event and see so many bright students and cool projects.”
Professor Ali Moradi, MD, MPH, DrPH, the interim associate dean of clinical integration, said “As a parent and educator, I truly appreciate PCOM Georgia’ vision and support for our children. The science fair provides opportunities for young scientists to experiment, explore and engage in science play and practices in order to build a solid foundation for future applications of the scientific inquiry process…I truly enjoyed judging middle school scientific projects and presentations this year where I had an opportunity to see future leaders in science and technology.”
Simulation Center Director Jeff Adams and Manager Moriah Newman represented the Simulation Center as breakout speakers for high school students. They used task trainers to teach the students hands-only CPR and demonstrated high fidelity mannequins and their usefulness in teaching health professions students.
In the middle school breakout session, Jiehyun Lee, PharmD, BCACP, CACP, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, asked students to use their cell phones to create a word picture to describe a pharmacist. Medicine man, life-saving, hero and hard-working were some of the words entered and then students were quizzed on what they learned following his presentation.
In another area of the fair, middle and high school students experienced prescription dispensing through the use of M&Ms. Pharmacists, a pharmacy resident, student pharmacists and admissions representatives helped man the table coordinated by Kim Lucier, the campus administrative services and events manager.
H. William Craver III, DO, vice provost and chief academic officer of PCOM Georgia, and Thomas Wagner, division director, administration, had the opportunity to represent the campus at the evening awards ceremony and lunch sessions.
Shirin Madzhidova, PharmD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, who judged the middle school projects, said, “The students were so confident and knowledgeable. I felt like I was judging my pharmacy students.” She added, “Talking with these young students made me believe in the future of STEM and that these kids are truly the future we are looking forward to.” The Physician Assistant department’s Sonya McMichael concurred, “The best part of judging for me was meeting such talented and friendly young people.”
William Delp, DO, assistant professor of osteopathic manipulative medicine, enjoyed the experience of judging as well. He said, “It is fun to see how the young minds approach things. I talked extensively to a young man who is working on a way to prevent thumb fractures in lacrosse players. He has suffered two himself and has come up with some interesting ideas.” He noted, “These are the types of kids who need encouragement and will likely make lives better in the future.”
According to school officials, 18 middle school projects and 28 high school projects will move forward to the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair to be held in Athens, Georgia, March 28-29, 2019, and three projects were selected by judges for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to be held in Phoenix, Arizona this May.
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 which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences 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 pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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