Tim Szczykutowicz Organizes Virtual Fieldtrip for Middle Schoolers

Dr. Tim Szczykutowicz recently organized a virtual fieldtrip for over 30 seventh and eighth graders, mostly from Wright Middle School, for Project REACH of the Urban League of Madison. Project REACH aims to help students begin to develop their post-secondary and career goals in middle school so that they enter high school prepared for a rigorous pre-college curriculum. 

The virtual fieldtrip focused on teaching radiology, medical physics, and biomedical engineering. The curriculum was taught in four one-hour blocks.  

Screenshot from Madison Urban League Event

Block 1: “Radiology Imaging Machine” – Professor Tim Szczykutowicz, PhD (Radiology) 

Thispresentation gave an overview of the machines used in radiology, followed by an interactive activity where the group identified the best imaging machine for various patient diseases. 

Block 2: “Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning” – Sydney Anna Jupitz (Medical Physics)  

This presentation taught the basics of radiation therapy treatment planning, followed by a hands-on activity where the young scholars created their own treatment plans for cancers of the head, thorax, and abdomen. 

Block 3: “Gene Editing with Cas9 and CRISPR” – Namita Khajanchi (Biomedical Engineering) 

This presentation discussed DNA, the genome, and genes, followed by a research activity to learn about CRISPR. Lastly, Ms. Khajanchi led a group discussion on the ethics gene editing of humans.  

Block 4: “Find the Cancer Exercise” – Lindsay Stratchko, DO (Radiology) 

This presentation gave a Radiology 101 lesson on what diseased organs look like, followed by an activity where the students scrolled through the real-life cases looking for cancers. Once found, the students were told possible diseases that could be present, leaving the student to figure out what issues the patients had. 

Dr. Szczykutowicz said, “I got involved with the efforts of Mr. Brown and Urban League of Madison over the last school year via virtual tutoring of Wright Middle School kids. When Mr. Brown said he could use sites to provide field trips, I jumped at the chance to expose these young scholars to projects in Radiology, Medical Physics, and Biomedical Engineering. I wanted to get a lot of different perspectives from the UW side to show these students what a career in STEM looks like in healthcare. I think we accomplished this goal, as we had undergraduate student, graduate student, PhD/MD faculty, and technologists volunteering from all three departments! It was a team effort that I think paid off big. The young scholars were really engaged and asked a lot of very good questions. I am hoping to run this again next year, and hopefully in-person on-campus, so we can have even more fun via using some medical imaging equipment in person.” 

A huge thank you to all the undergraduate and graduate volunteers:  

Annika Rossebo – Undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering 

Noah Ruh – Undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering 

Jupitz Sydney Anna – PhD Candidate in Medical Physics 

Namita Khajanchi – PhD Candidate in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 

Zita Brown – Undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering 

Ian Petersen – Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering 

Ali Abbaspour – PhD Candidate in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 

Brooke Pernsteiner – Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering 

Tae Ji Lee – Undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering