MMI's Dr. Godfrey helps lead four-day science camp

by Lisa Spellman, UNMC strategic communications | July 07, 2022

Image with caption: Students participating in the four-day science camp toured the Simulation in Motion-Nebraska trucks.

Students participating in the four-day science camp toured the Simulation in Motion-Nebraska trucks.

Nineteen youths representing tribes in Nebraska and South Dakota took part in a four-day science camp June 5-8 at UNMC, exploring health careers and other science, technology, engineering and math-related (STEM) fields.

"Hands-on science programs and weeklong camps provide our Native American students novel experiences and the unique opportunities to live on a college campus, interact with science professionals and network with students from similar backgrounds from other tribes," said Liliana Bronner, clinical education manager and director of medical pathways in the UNMC College of Medicine DEI Office and assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Family Medicine.

"Most importantly, it provides students with the confidence and encouragement they need to succeed in school and see themselves as future STEM professionals," Bronner said.

Along with Bronner, Maurice Godfrey, PhD, principal investigator and director of the SEPA program at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC, and Shrawan Kumar, PhD, an education specialist with the SEPA program, directed the camp.

Dr. Godfrey said the science camp represented a restart in some ways after a pandemic hiatus. He called the camp a great success.

"The trust we have built with our partner Native communities, over close to two decades, will help us to continue these programs," Dr. Godfrey said.

A highlight of the camp was a day spent exploring virtual technologies at the Davis Global Center on the UNMC campus.

At iEXCEL, the students worked with both the iEXCEL simulation and visualization teams. During their visit, they tested virtual, interactive technologies, including the interactive work benches, holographic theater and interactive touch walls.

The students also experienced simulation mannikins and task trainers, listening to lung sounds and learning about airway management and ultrasound technology.

While touring the Simulation in Motion-Nebraska trucks, the students learned about the statewide reach of the educational technology on board.

The summer camp was funded by a Science Education Partnership Award grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Said Bronner, "We believe our youth have the power to change our world. We saw some wonderful personal connections develop among the students who participated, and it was satisfying to hear directly from the students how much fun they had and their desire to participate next year."