Kids ages 8-13 recently spent a week exploring the wonders of medical science in Pre-Med Academy, part of TJC’s extensive list of STEM-related summer camps.
“The main objective of this camp is to inspire young students to investigate and pursue careers in medicine through TJC and beyond,” said Natalie Wade, TJC anatomy and physiology instructor and camp coordinator.
Campers spent last Monday and Tuesday in “medical school,” learning about a few of the organ systems of the human body. On Wednesday, they completed a group project and finished the day with a white coat ceremony — complete with kid-sized jackets and reciting an adapted version of the Hippocratic Oath — before an audience of proud parents. They spent Thursday working as physicians in a mock emergency room. On Friday, they “scrubbed in” and participated in a mock operating room setting.
“The kids worked really hard, and they surprised me in some great ways,” Prof. Wade said. “I teach college-age students, so with the age range of this camp at 8 to 13, I wasn’t sure how to gauge the material. I started using basic, layman’s terms, but they wanted to know the anatomical and medical terms and had me write them on the board so they could take notes.”
She continued, “I also taught from the slides that I lecture from in my regular TJC classes, with appropriate modifications for the age group, but it really is a mini preview of what they would get if they were in my lecture course. It’s very impressive to see how they responded. They asked amazing questions and we had some fun discussions, and they also worked great as a team.”
Camper Georgia Wade, age 11, said, “I’ve always had a passion for anatomy, and it’s always been something I’ve wanted to look into. I’ve always wanted to be someone who could help people, like a doctor.”
Prof. Wade enjoyed seeing students’ growth and enthusiasm.
“It delighted me to see their interest and curiosity,” she said. “I’ve always said that I think we really underestimate children and what they’re capable of. We should really feed into their curiosity and expose them to a lot of different things that might spark their interest.”
She continued, “I feel very fortunate that we’ve had such great support from our department here at TJC, not only for our current students but for these kiddos that we hope to see return as TJC students a few years from now.”
TJC camps continue throughout the summer, in various locations on the TJC main campus. For more information, go to TJCSummerCamps.com.