By Gerri Adams-Simmons
Photos by Ernie Branson
"Wow," was the expression heard most from 45 Alice Deal Junior High School students as they toured Medical Arts and Photography Branch facilities as part of NIH's adopt-a-school partnership with the school. Deal's video and filmmaking classes ventured to NIH to see how the theory of their lessons was applicable in the real world. The students were surprised to see their areas of interest turn into such exciting work as exhibit design, publications and posters, videotaping, computer slides, medical illustration and photography.
Lem Canady, branch chief, gave an introduction and demonstrated a laptop computer-controlled presentation about NIH and MAPB. "Study hard and get good grades in the core subjects, especially the writing classes, because then you will be prepared for whatever road you take in life," he advised. "Writing is a critical skill to have in this age of new technology."
As the students were engrossed in the variety of designs, Bruce Geyman, chief of design, observed, "Design is helping others to communicate their ideas and information. If the design is just pretty, you are pleasing yourself and not achieving the mission." He also impressed upon the students the importance of working as a team, because "in this line of work, no one person can do the entire project."
In the photomicroscopy section, students viewed demonstrations of how staff create images of experiments to be imported into videos. Hearing the excitement of the students, Shauna Everett, a scientific photographer who started as an intern while working on her degree at the University of the District of Columbia, said, "I hope you understand the value of this tour, because when I went through school, I didn't have the advantage of actually seeing what I was studying."
The students were really wowed by the international broadcast facilities and studio, and the many combinations of skills needed by staffers: broadcasting, transmission, producing, shooting, editing, graphic design and routing. John Bennett, broadcast engineer, said, "While the theory being taught in college is good, the more skills you have, the more employable you are." Student Brandon Lyles said, "I really enjoyed the tour because it involves something I like to do. The tour is a good tool to learn more about video production. I learned a few things about the equipment that is taken on location that I didn't know about before coming."
When the group arrived in the imaging section, they were particularly fascinated by the technology: Wayne Randolph, scientific photographer, held the students' attention as he demonstrated how photographs are enhanced, expertly inserting or deleting people without it being detected.
MAPB producer Alice Hardy and Deal video and filmmaking teacher Robert Simmons have developed a program for the coming months that allows students to gain hands-on experience in working with video production, editing and going on location with NIH. "We are so pleased that our students have been provided the unique opportunity for a hands-on view of their classwork at such an advanced level," said Simmons. "This has certainly inspired a different interest for students after seeing the many avenues by which they can enter the science world, other than being a scientist."
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