Southwest Pennsylvania Area Health Education Consortium

On April 9, CNUP graduate students Layla Banihashemi, Rashed Harun, Krishnamurthy Ganapathy Subramanian, Marguerite Matthews, and Kristen Stedenfeld joined Linda Rinaman, associate professor of neuroscience, and a group of high school students from Allegheny County for a hands-on sheep brain dissection laboratory in Scaife Hall. The high school students, led by Vicki Yann of the Southwest Pennsylvania Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC), are participating in a year-long program designed to expose them to educational and career opportunities in medical- and health-related fields. The CNUP graduate students worked closely with the high school students to lead them through the dissection protocol. In so doing, the graduate students were able to share their enthusiasm for neuroscience through one-on-one interactions, and were able to address the high school students’ myriad and interesting questions about brain organization and function. It was a fun, interactive evening!

These types of experiences benefit everyone involved. The high schoolers were able to see what “real” graduate students in science look like and how they act (i.e., personable, patient, engaged, enthusiastic, helpful, and amusing), and the graduate students were able to review their neuroanatomy and practice their teaching skills by explaining scientific concepts in understandable terms. We look forward to a repeat performance with a new group of high schoolers during the upcoming year!