Teamwork delivers an engaging career day for middle school students

Dr. Tim Stick demonstarates how objects are scanned using Computed Tomography, commonly known as a “CT scan.”

Students from James C. Wright Middle School recently participated in career day in the department of medical physics, and this was not your average field trip. Thanks to teamwork from a wide variety of backgrounds from ultrasound, radiology, radiation therapy, and MRI, students received hands-on opportunities to explore medical physics and learn about its potential career opportunities.

Activities and demonstrations included:

  • Scanning anatomical phantoms using an ultrasound machine
  • Learning about electron paramagnetic resonance imaging and observing it in action
  • Scanning objects using a CT scanner
  • Observing histotripsy in action, liquefaction of tumors/clots using ultrasound waves
  • Visualizing particles using a cloud chamber

Career day also included talks about career pathways from radiologists, technologists, and physicists, an engaging learning activity from the Carbone Cancer Center, and an overview of the role of medical physics in both radiology and medicine. Student Outreach Committee member Lucky Volety, Associate Professor Tim Szczykutowicz and and Wright Middle School teacher Tom Brown coordinated this year’s successful event.

Meridith Kisting introduces histotripsy. Students observe liquefication of tumors using ultrasound waves

“The kids were really engaged in every activity and discussion, they were also curious and asked insightful questions about careers and fundamental science,” says Volety. “Overall, our goal was to introduce the students to new career paths and scientific concepts in medical imaging, radiation detection & therapy, and cancer biology in a hands-on, fun and interesting way. And I think it was a huge success!”

This year’s career day team included:

  • Carbone Cancer Center – Nicole Boone & Mary Headington
  • Medical Physics Student Outreach Committee – Laura Casteñada-Martínez, Alex Christensen, Grace Minesinger, Lucky Volety
  • UW–Madison Medical Radiation & Research Center – Dan Anderson, Jeff Radtke
  • UW–Madison Radiology – Meridith Kisting, Mary Legler, Dr. Alan McMillan, Dr. Ali Pirasteh, Dr. Tim Szczykutowicz
  • UW–Madison Engineering – Ted Nowak, Eric Weber