Palm Beach County High School Students Get Hands-On Science Career Exposure at MPFI Event

September 25, 2019

The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) hosted 70 local high school students and their teachers for Career Day, which took place on Saturday, September 21, 2019. Students and teachers enjoyed tours of MPFI facilities, and an interactive question and answer session. The 2019 panelists were Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully, Dr. Mary Phillips, and Melissa Ryan.

“Career Day” is an annual event that gives high school students the opportunity to meet and interact with Max Planck scientists. Panelists traditionally include scientists who are in different stages of their training, from post-baccalaureate students to principal investigators. 2019’ Career Panel discussion explored many topics, including what inspired the scientists to choose a career in science, overcoming the challenges of balancing work and family, and what educational and research experiences got the researchers to the place that they are today.

The feedback from both teachers and students was overwhelmingly positive. “The lab tours and panel discussion are powerful tools to expose research pathways, triumphs and failures. It was amazing,” said Caitlin Holloway, a teacher from Santaluces High School. Student Sabrina Luu was also impressed with the event. “Being able to physically experience the technology and through sight and listening to established scientists’ accomplishments has made me more interested in neuroscience and engineering,” she said.

To participate in career day, teachers had to submit an application explaining how their students would benefit from the experience. Once selected, each school could choose up to ten students to attend. The schools and teachers selected for 2019 included: Jessica Nadeau, Royal Palm Beach High School; Louis Harrigan, Boynton Beach High; Dr. Robert Ghassemi, Inlet Grove High School; Jennifer Munoz, Score Academy Palm Beach Gardens; Melinda Odgen, Atlantic Community High School; Dr. Ofelia Barletta Chacon, Palm Beach Gardens High School; Caitlin Holloway, Santaluces High School; Michelle Lynne, Lake Worth High School; Floretta Barnes, Pahokee High School; and Renee Szeliga, The Benjamin School.