Jefferson Helps Kick Off Philadelphia Science Festival with STEM Career Showcase

Attendees heard speed talks from STEM experts, including Radika Bhaskar, PhD, a plant biologist and teaching assistant professor at Jefferson.

Attendees heard speed talks from STEM experts, including Radika Bhaskar, PhD, a plant biologist and teaching assistant professor at Jefferson.

High school students from across Philadelphia wound their way through the four floors of the Independence Seaport Museum to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs around the city, and Jefferson (Philadephia University + Thomas Jefferson University) students, faculty and staff helped to inspire these young people to explore STEM careers.

The STEM Career Showcase on March 16 marked the start of Jefferson’s participation in this year’s Philadelphia Science Festival. Jefferson volunteers will take part in numerous activities throughout the 10-day event.

At the Independence Seaport Museum, the Jefferson Pipeline Program with Cecilia McCormick, vice provost of academic strategy and special programs, brought former and current students to share their enthusiasm in learning about biomedical sciences; Mary Davis, an admissions counselor from East Falls campus talked about the STEM programs available for undergraduate study at Jefferson; and Robert Bartosz, director of finance and business planning and the leader of Jefferson’s Philadelphia Science Festival initiatives, brought the popular “What’s Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat” activity.

As students and families settled down in the picturesque auditorium overlooking the Delaware River, they also heard speed talks from STEM experts, including Radika Bhaskar, PhD, a plant biologist and teaching assistant professor in the College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce at Jefferson. She wowed the audience with slides and stories of some of her most interesting subjects—strangler figs and the sandbox tree covered in poisonous spikes—and why even these strange plants play a crucial role in the planet’s biodiversity.

Later that evening, Traci Trice, MD, assistant dean of diversity and student diversity programs and family medicine physician in the department of family and community medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, joined a panel of experts to give families advice on fueling and supporting their child’s enthusiasm for STEM. Dr. Trice suggested finding mentors for a child early on and surrounding them with other children and peers who are striving toward the same goals.

Visit here to see the full list of Jefferson events at the Philadelphia Science Festival.

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