In connection with their studies of engineering and robotics, 8th graders heard from Francesca Riccio-Ackerman, a researcher working at the Biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab, in science class this week. Francesca was inspired to study health economics and policy, after her experience as a biomedical engineer and seeing a need for equity in her field. She currently leads a project at MIT aimed at bringing diabetic and prosthetic medical services to patients that struggle to access these services.
Last week, 7th graders heard from Dr. Skye Kelty, a toxicologist from Rutgers University. Her main focus is on preventing asthma and lung cancer from air pollution, she also studies the effects of pesticides, contamination in soda, and water pollution. Dr. Kelty took students on a "Journey through the lung—from breathing to tiny viruses," and talked about how the lung functions as a defense system against pollution and germs. She is also conducting research that could help in the fight against COVID-19.
Students asked questions about the differences between the effects on the lungs from various pollution sources. Does smoking cause the same type of damage as being exposed to wildfire, for example? They also asked about how healthy lungs get rid of small amounts of toxins, which lead to a great discussion about why humans sneeze and cough and how those processes occur.
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.