On March 9th, 2023, STEM@SVSU, with the help of the Great Lakes Bay Region Chief Science Officers, held a Teen Science Café focused on the exploration of various careers in the medical field. Hosting Saginaw Valley State University’s own Medical Laboratory Sciences professor, Margot Alvey, and representatives from Covenant Healthcare, participants experienced hands-on activities that introduced them to essential concepts in the medical field. This exploration helped many teens consider what career might be right for them.
In the medical laboratory science portion of the Café, participants explored one of SVSU’s own lab spaces. With activities such as using microscopes to view cells and diseases, teens were able to see the importance of lab testing when treating a patient. Additionally, they grew their curiosity in the field by testing blood types on microscope slides and creating a reaction with cells and an activant solution. During these activities, the participants had great conversations with professionals and students in the field including favorite parts of their job and how the reactants and cells interact.
Teens also interacted with Covenant Healthcare nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and pharmacists. They learned to do CPR on medical mannequins, intubate an adult and baby mannequin using cameras and other tools, and package and label bottles of sugar water with the pharmacists. Also, teens had some amazing interactions with a physical therapist about a patient’s journey with physical therapy and the process of delivering a baby with a labor and delivery nurse. All of the participants enjoyed the hands-on experiences Covenant provided and were able to see the medical careers available that involve direct patient interaction.
By talking to various medical professionals and performing multiple hands-on activities, participants left the Teen Science Cafe with a sense of available medical careers and if they were suited for them. The teens engaged with medical professionals that worked more “behind the scenes” and ones that involved a lot of patient interaction. The event highlighted what it takes to work in the medical field and emphasized that whatever path they choose to take is the right one.
Cool Café write up by Christy Cole, Teen Leader and Chief Science Officer