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Vol. LXVII, No. 11
May 22, 2015
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NIH Celebrates Take Your Child to Work, Earth Day

On the front page...

Dameon Thomas, 11, creates a small tornado of water at the weather display during Earth Day at NCI Shady Grove.

Dameon Thomas, 11, creates a small tornado of water at the weather display during Earth Day at NCI Shady Grove.

Photo: Daniel Sone

Thousands of students took part in the 20th NIH Take Your Child to Work Day (TYCWD) and Earth Day celebration on Apr. 23.

This year, NIH hosted more than 3,600 youngsters enrolled in grades 1-12. Students could participate in 149 activities to learn about the work conducted at NIH. Of these, 111 took place on campus and 38 occurred off the premises. NIH also celebrated Earth Day on the Bldg. 1 lawn.

“We’re pleased to have so many students participate this year,” said Timothy Tosten, director of ORS’s Program and Employee Services, which organized TYCWD. “They saw the incredible things that happen at NIH—whether it’s in labs and offices or at the bedside. We hope children’s experiences inspire them to think about a career in biomedical research or the many fields that support it.”

Continued...

At the Clinical Center, youngsters tested their grip strength and ran on a treadmill at the rehabilitation medicine department, toured an operating room and learned about the effects alcohol has on the brain. Elsewhere on campus, they participated in fitness classes, conducted science experiments and learned about the police department’s canine units.

One of TYCWD’s organizers, ORS’s Courtney Bell, said new activities included “a technology sandbox” at the NIH Library where students could view new technology such as a 3D printer; a science fair sponsored by FAES; and informational sessions for high schoolers about how to apply for NIH internships.

Isabella Jacobs (c) takes her turn on the treadmill. At left is Amelia Tarlton, a student volunteer, and at right is physical therapist Zavera Brandon. Owen Older looks through a microscope. Arnav Singh bravely holds a tarantula at the Earth Day celebration.

Isabella Jacobs (c) takes her turn on the treadmill. At left is Amelia Tarlton, a student volunteer, and at right is physical therapist Zavera Brandon.

Owen Older looks through a microscope.




Arnav Singh bravely holds a tarantula at the Earth Day celebration.


CC PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) nurse manager Nilka Lavergne and Charlotte Holbrook are ready to step into the operating room.

CC PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) nurse manager Nilka Lavergne and Charlotte Holbrook are ready to step into the operating room.

Another new feature of TYCWD was a Twitter scavenger hunt. Participants were encouraged to share their experiences via social media by taking photographs of people and places around campus and tweeting their photos to the NIH Employee Services Twitter account, @NIHEmplSrvcs, with the hashtags #PESHunt and #MyNIHDay. In between TYCWD activities, youngsters could walk over to tents on Bldg. 1’s lawn and take part in Earth Day events. Attendees learned about wildlife both on and off campus and how to live a sustainable lifestyle.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources set up a display that featured reptiles and several birds of prey, including a great horned owl. Attendees were also invited to go on a nature walk to the NIH stream. Other exhibits taught attendees about conserving energy and water and how to compost.

Over in the Clinical Center, environmental short films aired in Masur Auditorium as part of Earth Day festivities.

Many of the merchants who sell produce and baked goods at the NIH Farmer’s Market set up shop for the first time at this year’s celebration.

FAES and the NIH Federal Credit Union donated 500 dogwood tree seedlings for attendees to plant at home.

Earth Day organizers also encouraged attendees to bring unused items, such as old eyeglasses and cell phones, and place them in recycling bins on campus.

A great horned owl sits on the arm of a park ranger from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Kevin Zhang (l) and Chayse Jackson get a feel for eye anatomy at an NEI exhibit Tessa Older makes a mold of an animal brain
As usual NIH’s unique blend of Earth Day and Take Your Child to Work Day celebrations proves to be a winner. Presenters as well as participants enjoy the event (from l): A great horned owl sits on the arm of a park ranger from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Kevin Zhang (l) and Chayse Jackson get a feel for eye anatomy at an NEI exhibit; and Tessa Older makes a mold of an animal brain.

A participant at Take Your Child to Work Day looks through a microscope. Shahzad Brandon walks on a treadmill with an overhead suspension system. The system provides physical support for patients who are relearning how to walk after an injury or disease. At right is his mom Zavera Brandon, a physical therapist in the rehabilitation medicine department.

Above, from l:
A participant at Take Your Child to Work Day looks through a microscope.

Shahzad Brandon walks on a treadmill with an overhead suspension system. The system provides physical support for patients who are relearning how to walk after an injury or disease. At right is his mom Zavera Brandon, a physical therapist in the rehabilitation medicine department.

At right:
NIDDK’s James Welch demonstrates a precipitation reaction—what occurs when certain types of liquid form into a solid when they touch—as children look on.

Photos: Bill Branson, Josie Anderson, Joe Balintfy

NIDDK’s James Welch demonstrates a precipitation reaction—what occurs when certain types of liquid form into a solid when they touch—as children look on.


4 Years for 3 Blind Mice at TYCW Day

2015 marked the fourth year the 3 Blind Mice—an independent blind and low-vision resource sharing group open to all interested NIH staff—participated in Take Your Child to Work Day.

The group presented an event titled Sensory Showdown!, an assortment of activities focused on using senses other than sight. The Mice hosted three 1-hour sessions. Activities included:

  • Guide Dog Demo: Guide dogs give a new meaning to man’s best friend. Kids learned how the unique partnership between owner and guide dog, in combination with other senses, provides independence and mobility for many in the blind and low-vision community.

  • Tactile Treasure Hunt: Touch is particularly important to those who are blind or have low-vision. Texture, size, shape and material are some examples of indicators that help to decipher one object from another. Children reached inside a box to tell the difference between similar objects using only the sense of touch.

  • Sent Sense: From an aromatic meal, to springtime flowers, to sour milk and smoke, smell is an important indicator of the world around us. Guests explored and identified a variety of objects using only their sense of smell.

There were also activities called Audio Description, Test Your Taste Buds and Braille Decoder. For more information about 3 Blind Mice, contact Teresa (Shea) Booher at (301) 402-3855 or teresa.shea@nih.gov.

Cynthia Bryant and her guide dog Sophia educate children at TYCWD.

Cynthia Bryant and her guide dog Sophia educate children at TYCWD.



Collins, Tabak, Rockey Mix Science with Fun in Bldg. 1

Jonathan Sun (c) shows off an NIH logo made by a 3D printer. Also pictured are Nathan Han (l) and Christian Testa.

Jonathan Sun (c) shows off an NIH logo made by a 3D printer. Also pictured are Nathan Han (l) and Christian Testa.

It is a rare day when kids of NIH’ers have the opportunity to rub elbows with NIH top brass, prove that they are the progeny of brilliant scientists and skilled administrators and boldly cuddle large insects without panic. Such was the case at Wilson Hall in Bldg. 1 when children, along with their parents and guardians, filled the room to participate in TYCWD sessions arranged by the OD Voice.

Following a brief introduction in which Dr. Sharon Milgram, director, Office of Intramural Training and Education, engaged kids in a discussion about Earth Day, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins entered the room to a chorus of children in unison calling out, “Hi Dr. Collins.”

Children were rapt with attention as Collins spoke about the importance of biomedical research and NIH accomplishments.

Next up was the Science Bowl led by Dr. Lawrence Tabak, NIH principal deputy director. Children used electronic clickers to choose answers to questions Tabak asked, including “How many legs does an arachnid have? How many institutes make up the NIH? Which human organ cleans up to 50 gallons of blood every day? Borborygmus is another word for…?” Kids selected the correct answers 85 percent of the time. Tabak noted, “Next year we need much harder questions.”

The Bug Doctor Is in the House, presented by Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH deputy director for extramural research, informed and entertained kids and parents. It included a discussion about the importance of insects in our world and a live-insect show and tell. Rockey unboxed a walking stick insect, a lubber grasshopper and a Madagascar hissing cockroach, passing them to the kids to handle. The children were fascinated; the parents not so much.

Several other OD hands-on events were hosted, including: Facts about Earth Day; Outbreak! Decision-Making to Protect the Population; Show Me the Money; Lights, Camera, Action! Be a Star for NIH!; Monster Genes, the ABCs of Acid-Base Chemistry and Color-Changing Carnations; Mix It Up with Cabbage; the World’s Easiest Lava Lamp; and Candy Chromatography: Having Phun with Fluorescence.—Elise Rabin

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins chats with children about the importance of biomedical researc Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH deputy director for extramural research, greets kids as The Bug Doctor Is in the House.
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (l) chats with children about the importance of biomedical research. At right, Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH deputy director for extramural research, greets kids as The Bug Doctor Is in the House.

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