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JA and Pharmatek Bring STEM into the Classrom



As we enjoy the summer months, I'm taking some time toreflect on the experiences I've had visiting the various businesses,universities and classrooms across San Diego County.

From middle to highschool, I learned alongside the over 2,500 students we reached in the JA Job Shadowprogram this past school year.

Many of the site visits took our breath away,like getting to fly a plane, and others were the beginning of a strong bondbetween our stellar JA volunteers and students, namely, the Citibank andKing-Chavez Career Day.

One of the most recent job shadows was in a field whereSan Diego is well known.

How many of you remember your first science class? How aboutthe first experiment?

Unlike English, math or social studies, we usually have avivid memory of a cool science experiment that we conducted in middle or highschool. For some of us, that might have been the catalyst for our currentcareer.

For almost 200 middle school and high school students at BlessedSacrament, Keiller Leadership Academy and El Cajon Valley High School, many ofthem came away with an amazing science moment this spring courtesy ofPharmatek.

For Keiller and El Cajon Valley, the students had the added benefitof visiting the Pharmatek labs in Miramar, but for students at BlessedSacrament, they experienced the WOW! Factor without even leavingtheir classroom!

The Pharmatek volunteers came to the 6th, 7th and 8th grade classrooms bearing cases of clear glass vials withplastic pipettes. Each student was handed a vial and clear soda was pipettedinto their vials as we discussed and analyzed the pH level of soda and water.

As we tried to figure out why that was important when forming drugs, wegot to see what happens to a pill placed in soda. The placebo was coated withan ingredient that dissolved in acid. The clear soda we used mimicked the gassy,acidic environment of the stomach. Another pill, coated with an ingredient thatdissolved in only basic environments, like the intestine, was also tested.

Finally, we got to see what happens when we break a pill in half. Now that wasa lesson for parents as well as kids! And that was just one perspective on howcool and relevant science can be.

This year, we've been lucky to partner withPharmatek in reaching out to schools that otherwise would not have been exposedto the field of pharmaceutical science.

Our goal at JA is to bring such experiences to many moremiddle and high schoolers all around San Diego County, but we do need help.

Doyou have a cool job in a STEM field?

Let us know, and we can help you share itwith our future scientists, engineers, tech geeks and mathematicians. Not surehow you can convey the coolness factor? Not to worry--we can help you create afun agenda.

Together, we can lead the STEM revolution one job shadow at a time. Contact me, Bunmi, at besho@jasandiego.org and let's set it up!


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POSTED JULY 26,2013