Friday, March 19, 2010

MGHers support young scientists

PARTNERS IN SCIENTIFIC SUCCESS: From left, Banchiere; Cruzado; Perez; Christy Egun, director of MGH Boston School Partnerships; Oluwasegun and Spratling 

THE NEXT GENERATION of scientists -- maybe even a future Nobel Prize recipient -- have been hard at work for the last few months. Each winter, as a component of the MGH/Timilty Partnership, a program of the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement, seventh- and eighth-grade students of the James P. Timilty Middle School collaborate with MGH mentors on science projects and poster displays. All students who participate compete in a schoolwide science fair; students with exceptional projects are selected to compete in a citywide science competition.

Seventeen of the 23 Timilty students who made it to this year's citywide science fair were mentored by MGHers. One student, seventh-grader Yohanna Perez, mentored by Lindsay Cade and Joanne Cheung of the Cardiovascular Research Center, was selected to compete in the upcoming statewide science fair with her project on the relationship between water temperature and sodium acetate crystal size.

To celebrate the hard work of all the students and their mentors, the MGH/Timilty Partnership Recognition Ceremony was held March 9 in the Thier Conference Room. Rantimi Oluwasegun, a Massachusetts Promise Fellow who directed the mentorship program this year, welcomed guests to the ceremony, followed by Ronald Spratling, a retired Boston Public Schools principal, who discussed the importance of mentorship and extended his gratitude to the 45 MGH mentors.

Several students shared their experiences with the program, each offering their heartfelt thanks to their mentor. One MGHer, Bill Banchiere, director of MGH Environmental Services, received special recognition for 15 years of mentorship. His mentee, seventh-grader Alec Cruzado, presented him with a commemorative gift and talked about Banchiere's influence on him.

"Bill helped me to understand and do my project," he said. "But he also was a good friend."

Alec's project analyzed the efficiency of battery power compared to solar power. For his efforts, he was selected one of the students to present his project at the citywide science fair.