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The Da Vinci Science Center visited South Mountain Middle School students today to announce new community support for the expansion of outreach education programs. Generous support from local companies will help the Science Center provide engaging experiences to a growing number of schools and community centers.
Da Vinci Science Center outreach programs increase student interest in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math and introduce students to the concepts, competencies, and connections that lead to careers in the growing STEM workforce. The Science Center’s team of outreach educators serves more than 41,000 people annually, with a special focus on students from low income communities who may have limited access to hands-on STEM activities.
Students in attendance at today’s event were amongst the first in the Lehigh Valley to participate in a Da Vinci Science Celebration featuring SynDaver, the most realistic synthetic representation of human anatomy ever produced, and The MEGA Brain, an innovative exhibit that teaches children and adults about the central nervous system’s most critical organ.
“In our 2018 Strategic Framework, we identified as a goal a distinct focus on middle school transformation in the Allentown School District. The Da Vinci Outreach Education Programs allow our schools to develop STEAM opportunities for ASD students coordinating dynamic instruction, critical thinking and personalized learning experiences that keep students engaged,” said Thomas Parker, superintendent of Allentown School District. “We are excited to further our partnership with Da Vinci to enhance the lives of the students and our community in Allentown.”
SynDaver is a synthetic human cadaver made from materials that mimic the mechanical, thermal, and physicochemical properties of live tissue. It bleeds and employs hundreds of replaceable muscles, bones, organs, veins and arteries. Typically, SynDaver is used in medical device studies, clinical training, and surgical simulation. The Da Vinci Science Center is an early adopter in using SynDaver for medical education with middle and high school students. The addition of SynDaver to Da Vinci Science Center outreach education programs was made possible through the generous support of Highmark Blue Shield.
“Highmark is committed to investing in STEM education in the areas we serve,” said Kathleen McKenzie, vice president of Community Affairs. “Here in the Lehigh Valley, we’ve realized that commitment through a $150,000, three-year partnership with the DaVinci Science Center, which builds on more than 75 years of Highmark helping to develop a stronger, healthier community.”
The MEGA Brain is a portable, inflatable, walk-through brain exhibit that explains how to keep your brain healthy, showcases the latest medical treatments for brain trauma and disease, and teaches about stroke, addiction, and other common brain conditions. Programs featuring The MEGA Brain are made possible through the generous support of St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Generous support from PPL Foundation and Wind Gap Chevrolet Buick also funded the purchase of two new vehicles that will enable Science Center educators to visit a greater number of students throughout the Lehigh Valley.
“As a company of engineers, financial analysts, environmental scientists, information technology specialists, and electricians, PPL understands how important it is to engage the next generation in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Lissette Santana, Senior Manager of Corporate Relations at PPL. “We are proud to share the Da Vinci Science Center’s passion for advancing science education.”
“We wish to thank Highmark Blue Shield, St. Luke’s University Health Network, PPL Corporation, and Wind Gap Chevrolet Buick for helping us bring these wonderful programs to the students here in the Allentown School District and across the Lehigh Valley,” said Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of the Da Vinci Science Center.