bioengineering summer camps 2014 annual report

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  • 2 0 1 4 A n n u A l R e p o R t

    university of pittsburgh | swanson school of engineering | Department of bioengineering

    InspIrIng tomoRRow's engineeRs

    b i o e n g i n e e r i n g s u m m e r c a m p s

  • InspIrIng tomoRRow's engineeRs

  • b i o e n g i n e e r i n g s u m m e r c a m p s | 2 0 1 4 a n n u a l r e p o r t 3

    Mission stateMent

    since 2007, the university of pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering has been addressing deficiencies in youth stem education by offering the Bioengineering summer Camps. it is now the signature outreach program of the department and one of the most successful K-12 outreach initiatives of the university. the goal of our program is to engage young minds in the wonders of science and bioengineering and the potential to benefit the human condition, while also showing them that stem can be a fun and exciting field of

    learning and future careers. we seek to engage diverse groups of students, particularly those from backgrounds which are underrepresented in stem fields such as minorities and women. Developed through an interdisciplinary partnership between the Department of Bioengineering and the university of pittsburgh medical Center (upmC), our curriculum utilizes regenerative aspects of the natural world and current research topics in bioengineering to explore how state-of-the-art research can be translated to human medicine and treatment. our

    near-peer mentorship strategy integrates excellent undergraduate bioengineering students from pitts swanson school of engineering as content creators and camp counselors. each year we aim to provide middle and high school students who possess burgeoning interests in science an exceptional opportunity to learn about bioengineering and regenerative medicine through hands-on experiences with new technologies, experimental strategies, and ethical considerations in the diverse fields of bioengineering and regenerative medicine.

    Campers harvesting silk from a spider for analysis of its potential as a bioscaffold.

  • SwanSon School of EnginEEring | DEpartmEnt of BioEnginEEring4


    this was another exciting year for the university of pittsburgh Bioengineering summer Camp. it started in the winter and spring when our call for support to our local industry and foundation friends/partners was answered in a big way! with government funding becoming more difficult to obtain, we are very proud that this marked our first year supported by private funding. this achievement validates that youth stem education is important to western pennsylvania and we are indeed playing a vital role in providing a positive and inspiring experience that allows area teens to engage in state-of-the-art, hands-on science. the independent external evaluation included with this report demonstrates that we are continuing to meet our learning objectives and, more importantly, that our campers and their parents have been extremely pleased with what we have offered.

    Beginning at the end of may through mid-July, five bioengineering undergraduates worked with our faculty and two master educators from the pittsburgh region to develop an all-new set of innovative and exciting learning modules. these included pig knee and heart defect repairs with commercially available bioscaffolds

    (donated from ACell, inc.), robot and human interfaces, smart prosthetics controlled by brain signals, differentiating stem cells seeded on 3D printed scaffolds, and silk scaffold collection from spiders and subsequent analysis of its properties. these unique activities were combined with some of our standard activities (building bones, design of aortic aneurysm repairs, scaffold degradation analysis, DnA extraction, angiogenesis assays, bioethics case studies, etc.) and presentations from some of our world-renowned faculty to create a weeklong experience that is packed with activities from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

    this year, we offered three five-day summer camps from July 14 through August 1 focused on bioengineering, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine; one for middle school and two for high school students. with 75 participants from area middle and high-schools, this brings our total to over 450 campers educated over the last eight years!

    looking forward to 2015, we have one very specific goal in mind inCReAse DiVeRsitY. Despite our efforts to make the camps free for students from the pittsburgh public schools and mcKeesport school District,

    participation by African Americans and other minority students is still very limited. we feel this is due to two main factors: 1) Communication, and 2) Accessibility. thus, this winter and spring we will be expanding our recruitment efforts to these districts through additional outreach visits and marketing strategies. in addition, through a partnership with the Citizen science lab (Csl), which opened in 2014 with support from a variety of nonprofit partners, we hope to offer a more central City location that is served by multiple public transportation routes. we hope we can continue to count on your support in pursuing our 2015 diversity goals.

    in the following pages, we would like to provide you with a flavor for the camp by highlighting selected feedback (page 5), our key personnel and undergraduate counselors (pages 6 and 7), with pictures of the camps in action featured throughout. Finally, we have included the report provided by our external evaluator, Dr. Kalyani Raghavan (page 8).

    thank you for making 2014 another outstanding year of stem education in pittsburgh!

  • b i o e n g i n e e r i n g s u m m e r c a m p s | 2 0 1 4 a n n u a l r e p o r t 5

    It was a great experience... this camp brought the classes full circle. The camp definitely exceeded my expectations.

    I loved all the hands-on work we did...2014 selected Feedback


    The camp definitely exceeded my expectations. I loved all the hands on work we did but at the same time learning about new topics in detail. It really opened my eyes to the different areas of biomedical engineering.I gained the ability to use different instruments and knowledge in how to do certain experiments (e.g., Gel electrophoresis).I am pretty much satisfied that this is what I want to study in college. It is fascinating! I thought this was a fantastic camp. I gained experience with the different tools. I had never used a micropipette before. Also we learned the basics of culturing stem cells.I am so glad I was exposed to (stem cells) because I think it is an area I could definitely pursue and excel in.I think the summer camp was really great and I liked everything about it. I want to try and come back next summer.It was great. This is what I want to do when I grow up (biomedical engineering).It was a great experience. I have taken biology, chemistry and anatomy and this camp brought the classes full circle.


    You guys rock. I also loved the communication from your entire team, before my child attended. All of my questions were answered. You exceeded my expectations. We are blessed to live so close to Pitt (University of Pittsburgh).What a great experience! This camp stimulated thought- provoking conversations at our dinner table all week long. Loved seeing my child so inspired by the scientific trends at work today.Our daughter enjoyed the camp immensely. She thought the counselors were hands-on and created a fun atmosphere for learning. She is going to be a high school sophomore in the fall and she wants to begin to narrow her field of study. This camp allowed her to do so. Thanks for providing such an amazing opportunity.Very impressive week! My childs feet hit the floor in the mornings, anxious to get to Pitt. Well organized. Coordinators were very responsive to e-mails and questions.Great experience for middle school girls. Much more hands-on opportunity than they get at school.My son was excited to get up and come into the camp each day. This says a lot especially in the middle of the summer!

  • SwanSon School of EnginEEring | DEpartmEnt of BioEnginEEring6

    2014 Undergraduate Camp Counselors

    Laura Power is a sophomore at edinboro university of pennsylvania, who is totally excited about her second year as a counselor in this program. Although unsure of what she wants to study as an undergraduate she

    is leaning toward biology and attending graduate school for public health. Her long-term goal is to start a nonprofit that encourages and facilitates involvement in the sciences for the physically disabled. in her spare time she enjoys reading, swimming, and writing fiction.

    Karen Hranek was born and raised in King of prussia, pA (home to the second-largest mall in America). she is a junior studying bioengineering at the university of pittsburgh, and she has yet to decide between

    a minor in mechanical engineering or neuroscience. she plans to spend the upcoming fall semester abroad at the national university of singapore and is extremely excited to do a lot of traveling while there. in her free time she is a beater on pitts Quidditch club team, a sister of the engineering sorority phi sigma Rho, and an enthusiastic intramural soccer participant. she also loves setting up blanket caves from which she watches too much netflix, eats too much chocolate, and is woefully addicted to Candy Crush.

    Tom Kappil is a junior at the university of pittsburgh, majoring in bioengineering with a concentration in biome-chanics, and a minor in mechanical engineering. in the fall, he plans to co-op at a bioengineering

    company. originally from levittown, pennsylvania, tom has really come to love western pA and all that pittsburgh offers. After graduation, he plans on