July 17, 2015 | by Denise Heady
There’s science camp, and then there’s “mystery” science camp. City of Hope’s new science camp for middle school students is of the especially engaging latter variety.
From Monday, July 13, to Friday, July 17, rising middle-school students from across the San Gabriel Valley were presented with a “patient” with an undiagnosed disease. From there, they tackled the art and science of medical diagnosis.
The junior medical investigators explored the potential illnesses from which the patient might be suffering and then conducted tests that would eliminate potential diseases.
Alexandra Race, Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program coordinator at City of Hope, told the Los Angeles Daily News that what sets this science camp apart from others is that it has more of a medical focus.
“We combined both the medical aspect of City of Hope and the research aspect,” Race said in the interview. “They’re diagnosing a patient with this mysterious illness and they’re doing medical tests, but also using some of the principles of research.”
For 12-year-old Natasha Kearl from Glendora, California, who's considering a career in the medical field, the science camp was a perfect fit.
“A lot of people in my family are doctors, so I’m interested in learning what it is they do,” she said in an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News.
Nadiah Ghazalli, a recent graduate student from Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences at City of Hope, visited the class to talk about diabetes and the research she has conducted on the disease, which affects millions of people worldwide.
“I think this program is particularly great because it relates to real-world examples," Ghazalli said. “We’ve heard about diseases such as cancer and diabetes, but we don’t really know what goes on behind the scenes ... and I think this is a good chance for the young students to know about theses processes and to give them a better understanding of how science is being done.”
The free science camp was offered under the SEPA, which is funded through a grant to get students interested, engaged and prepared for biomedical research as a possible college and career choice.
It was offered by City of Hope’s SEPA program, which also hosts several other events throughout the year to help promote science to the community and to elementary, middle and high school students, including "Science Saturdays" and year-long programs.
Learning science in school is fun. Learning science where scientists actually conduct their research takes the fun to a new level.