BASIS Scottsdale junior Praneetha Tangallpalli works with Michael Bodeen, College Lead in Human Dissection, throughout the Excessive Faculty STEM Internship program.

Story by Lana Sweeten-Shults
Photographs by Ralph Freso
GCU Information Bureau

Kristine Kim by no means needed to turn into an engineer.

“The engineering area was one thing I used to be not eager about in any respect,” stated the Arizona Faculty Prep Excessive Faculty junior. However she determined to go in opposition to the grain and throw warning to the wind. “My dad is an engineer and I’ve all the time informed my dad, ‘No, I’m not going into engineering. That sounds SO boring.

“However I made a decision to do one thing I had NO curiosity in, simply to place myself in an atmosphere with new alternatives.”

That sense of journey landed her in Grand Canyon College’s Excessive Faculty STEM Internship program and within the lab of biomedical engineering professor Dr. David Kwartowitz.

Arizona Faculty Prep Excessive Faculty junior Kristine Kim works on a prototype for a strolling cane within the biomedical engineering lab. (Photograph by Lana Sweeten-Shults)

It’s the place she has spent numerous time testing and tinkering with a prototype for a strolling cane utilizing supplies accessible to anybody. Kim is within the throes of creating the prototype alongside three different biomedical engineering interns.

The strolling cane evolution is one thing she places into her day by day dinner-table report back to her dad, who hears tidbits about her days this summer season at GCU: Days that contain exploring (with gusto) medical-world units and different tools, studying about core biomedical engineering ideas and, after all, engaged on the strolling cane prototype.

“He will get so excited after I inform him,” Kim stated with a smile.

What she and the opposite interns are doing in designing the strolling cane is creating a contest module for the subsequent Worldwide Christian STEM Competitors, launched on the GCU campus this spring in partnership with the Affiliation of Christian Colleges Worldwide.

“It’s type of an enormous deal. They create in groups from all around the world,” stated Kwartowitz of the occasion.

The ACSI has not included a biomedical engineering competitors earlier than. Organizers didn’t know what could be doable for highschool groups for a small sum of money and restricted period of time. Kim and her fellow interns, within the parameters of their module, are asking groups to develop a strolling cane utilizing $50 of supplies.

“We’re letting the interns do it partially as a result of their friends are literally going to be those to enter this competitors. Allow them to develop the competition and see what they’ll do, after which base the competitors on what they’re able to, as a result of this program will get the most effective and the brightest,” stated Kwartowitz of the highschool interns, who needed to apply to be chosen for this system.

Affiliate Professor Dr. Zach Zeigler conducts an train science class as a part of the Excessive Faculty STEM Internship program.

The scholars then have the chance within the fall and spring to mentor fellow Christian highschool college students as they put together for the competitors, one thing previous interns have accomplished.

K12 Academic Improvement began the internships in response to highschool lecturers who had been in search of extra science, expertise, engineering and math alternatives for his or her college students. In only one yr, this system has greater than doubled, “simply by phrase of mouth,” stated Corinne Araza, Senior Mission Director of K12 STEM Outreach.

Kim is amongst greater than two dozen of the most effective and the brightest college students from 4 excessive colleges who’re imbedding with the campus’ STEM professors and GCU pupil mentors. They are going to be on campus by the tip of July for his or her internship, organized by K12 Academic Improvement in partnership with the Honors Faculty. Along with the 4 biomedical engineering interns, different college students are learning train science, coding/programming, cybersecurity and synthetic intelligence/machine studying.

They’ll be spending from 100 to 200 hours in these internships this summer season — 5 days per week — with some required to come back to campus in individual and others, equivalent to the pc programming and AI interns, dividing their time between assembly in individual and connecting on-line through devoted Slack channels.

Paradise Valley Excessive Faculty senior Sathvika Damera (left) and greater than a dozen different highschool college students are anatomy interns at GCU this summer season.

Scholar teams go their separate methods Monday to Thursday as they settle into the labs for his or her particular disciplines then reunite on Fridays for skilled growth. The Honors Faculty helms matters equivalent to social media networking, resume growth and expertise instruments for STEM success (equivalent to Slack, Groups and Discord).

AI/machine studying intern Stefanie Fan, who might be a junior at Desert Vista Excessive Faculty this fall, was busy engaged on coding for an upcoming Amazon Net Companies Deep Racer competitors co-sponsored by accomplice Low cost Tire. She and the three different AI/machine studying interns are programming futuristic-looking mannequin autos so these robots can educate themselves the way to drive. They are going to race the automobiles autonomously alongside GCU college students who’re a part of the campus’ undergraduate Analysis and Design Program.

Jevon Jackson

Fan by no means had an curiosity in robots earlier than, however her robotic curiosity stage has soared ever since she began the internship below the helm of Jevon Jackson, Program Chair and Program Lead of Software program Engineering.

“I’m most excited to get the robotic to go on the observe within the quickest time,” she stated.

Fan, who’s pondering of going into software program engineering, can also be studying programming language Python, in addition to all varieties of machine studying and reinforcement studying.

Paradise Valley Excessive Faculty junior Atharva Goel additionally dove into cybersecurity as a part of his AI/machine studying internship and researched blockchain expertise.

“It was actually cool to find out about that,” Goel stated.

Like Fan, he’s excited concerning the Deep Racer competitors, tentatively slated for July 14. “I believe it’s going to be fairly enjoyable,” he stated.

What was actually cool for Jackson was seeing how a lot the scholars discovered simply three weeks into their internship: “For many of them, this was their first publicity to coding. These college students are so brilliant,” he stated.

BASIS Scottsdale junior Praneetha Tangallpalli is spending a lot of her summer season as an intern in professor Michael Bodeen’s anatomy and dissection lab. GCU is among the few undergraduate schools that permits college students to get hands-on experiences with cadavers, and about 15 of the Excessive Faculty STEM interns are doing simply that.

Highschool college students take notes in an train science class.

“By week 2, the interns already had a chance to dissect a human mind,” stated Honors Faculty Dean Dr. Breanna Naegeli. It was the large subject of dialog that week. Additionally they discovered about efficient teamwork, collaboration methods and varied communication platforms.

Tangallpalli, whose dream is to be a doctor specializing in infectious illness analysis, is one among 4 interns engaged on dissecting the thoracic and stomach space of the cadaver. She stated she seen how a lot she liked her biology courses and searching by microscopes.

When she stepped right into a pathology lab for the primary time, “that actually kick-started me,” she stated of her ardour for the sciences.


One factor she stated that was a game-changer for her was a latest speak by Bodeen. He spoke about how he all the time seems to be at how folks stroll when he’s at a mall or different public area.

“Do they stagger to at least one aspect? Are their toes turned? Is there one thing fallacious with their tibia?” he contemplated. “As medical doctors, you transcend that. What sort of issues would that trigger for an individual? What does that actually imply? That’s what medical doctors must be doing … going past.”

“That caught with me,” Tangallpalli stated.

“This sort of alternative, I’m glad I discovered it, actually. This lab? It’s been fairly huge for me.”

Arizona Faculty Prep juniors Kenan Kao (left) and Gauri Murkoth (proper), biomedical engineering interns at GCU this summer season, are creating a contest module for the Worldwide Christian STEM competitors. (Photograph by Lana Sweeten-Shults)

What’s been huge for Arizona Faculty Prep junior Kenan Kao within the biomedical engineering lab has been all of the equipment Kwartowitz and GCU biomedical engineering junior Alma Orozco have launched college students to over these previous couple of weeks.

“The most effective factor has in all probability been seeing all of the tools,” Kao stated, sharing how he and the opposite biomedical engineering interns later that day had been going to see how a computed tomography, or CT, scanner works. “We’re going to scan some arteries,” he stated excitedly. “We’re going to be working with the anatomy children.”

Arizona Faculty Prep junior Gauri Murkoth gushed about attending to work with an ultrasound machine the day earlier than. “We had been in a position to really scan my wrist, his (Kao’s) eyes. It was cool to see all the pictures.”

Creating the strolling cane prototype has been enjoyable too, Murkoth added, “simply studying from the failures.”

Orozco, who has been engaged on a undertaking for the Biomedical Engineering Society this summer season, volunteered to mentor the highschool biomedical engineering interns alongside Kwartowitz.

“The factor I liked probably the most about mentoring was with the ability to assist them past simply their undertaking (for the Worldwide Christian STEM Competitors). I used to be in a position to reply questions and develop their curiosity in biomedical engineering, one thing I’m very keen about,” Orozco stated. “I additionally liked that I used to be in a position to be taught from this expertise with them.”

As for Kim, who was decidedly in opposition to changing into an engineer like her dad, she has had a change of coronary heart.

“I had no concept I’d be eager about engineering,” she stated, and in relation to her record of what she needs to do along with her life? “I do know for positive that engineering has been added to the record.”

GCU senior author Lana Sweeten-Shults may be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.

Associated content material:

GCU At this time: Excessive schoolers with a coronary heart for STEM intern at GCU

GCU At this time: Highschool college students analysis prospects at GCU

GCU At this time: STEM savvy launched at MESA Regional Design Day

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