Tide of teenagers visit campus for HSET Day
Story by Laurie Merrill
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
Aruba Siddikqi and Jazlyn Leon are only in 10th grade, but they already know they want careers in the health sciences. That’s why they traveled four hours Friday morning from Douglas, Ariz., to Phoenix for Grand Canyon University’s Health Sciences, Engineering and Technology Day 2015.
“We came to get more information about the medical fields,” said Leon, who attends Douglas High with Siddikqi. “I’m interested in studying to be a pharmacist, or some kind of forensic career.”
Siddikqi is also considering a career as pharmacist, in addition to wanting to be a physician.
They were among nearly 2,500 high school and junior high school students who descended on campus to learn more about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and nursing. They toured science labs, listened to lectures from impressive speakers, participated in hands-on experiments and visited booths ranging from the GCU Sports Medicine Club and Honors College–Honors STEMists to Dignity Health and the AZ SciTech Festival.
“The students come out with a much stronger idea of what they wanted to go into,” said Teri Varley, who teaches at Ray High School in Kearny. “It opens up broader ideas to them.”
More than 70 experts gave presentations throughout the morning from a long roster of topics, including the robotic hand experiment, electrical engineering, forensic dentistry, what is a perfusionist, careers in business analytics, splint this–sling that, the brain on drugs and more.
Dr. Michael Sheller, associate dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), spoke to a rapt group about why he loves biomedical engineering in his session, “My flesh and my heart may fail.”
He presented a power point showing work he has done regarding bone fluid flow, bone growth simulation, neural computation, blood clotting and relaxing cells.
“It’s kind of nerdy, but I love it,” Sheller said. “Engineers get to understand human physiology in ways other people never see.”
Among things he likes about his career is working on both micro (cells) and macro (body) levels, developing software, systems and math models and, in general, helping the injured and diseased. Sheller said he answers to a higher power, he said.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, as God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,” Sheller said, quoting Bible verse Psalm 73:26.
Julie Patterson and her three teenagers from Kearny were among those attending Sheller’s session. “This is our first class, and I was impressed,” Patterson said.
GCU instructor Lindsey Wagner told a fascinated audience that tissue regeneration is changing the field of physical therapy. When patients receive injections of stem cells to help an injury, they are encouraged to move to help the new cells grow, Wagner said.
“As physical therapists, we have to be able to think, ‘Do we need to create protocols of movement?’” she said during her presentation, on careers in physical therapy and regenerative medicine.
This year, GCU changed the focus and name of its annual Health Sciences and Nursing Day to include the growing STEM fields.
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.