This July, UW Medicine gave high school students a close-up look at science, medicine and healthcare simulation at the Chehalis School District's annual High School Student STEM Camp. Dr. Robert Sweet, a urologist at the Kidney Stone Center at Northwest Hospital, and executive director of the Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies (CREST) and the WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH), led the two-day camp along with WISH/CREST associate directors, Megan Sherman and Farrah Leland.
The STEM Camp, first organized by high school science teachers at W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Washington, started about seven years ago. The first day of the camp is held in the high school’s STEM wing, a $10 million building that late UW Regent, Orin Smith helped construct. Smith was a W.F. West High School alumnus, and he helped support the STEM camp until his death in 2018. On the second day of the camp, the students visit the WISH and CREST facilities at UW Medicine for more learning.
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for young minds to be exposed to healthcare in general,” said Sweet. “It allows them to see the magical things that can come out of a combination of medicine, art, engineering and science, all coming together in the area of healthcare.”
This year, the camp drew 93 students, grades 9 – 12, from the Chehalis and Hoquiam School Districts and the Quinault Tribe.
Washington State Senator John Braun, who represents the local 20th legislative district, stopped by to speak with the students and watch them in action as they engaged in hands-on learning.
The students rotated through a series of workshops where they participated in activities that included working with materials to make simulation manikins and anatomical structures, integrating engineering and design to form dynamic anatomical simulations, learning how to communicate effectively as a team, and more. At the WISH and CREST labs, they had the chance to mold and cast an arm, use a laser scanner to scan the body and create an anatomic form, and learn how human tissue testing is done.
“Simulation allows for hands-on experience that these students couldn’t get in a real healthcare environment at their age,” said Sweet. “It also gives them exposure to the emerging industry of healthcare simulation science, which is really exciting.”
The camp was featured in the Chehalis Chronicle.
See a gallery of photos from the camp below.