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Hundreds of children tour BNMC to learn about careers

By JULIE MOLENDA

Published April 30, 2015

It’s a question that many teenagers dread: What do you want to be when you grow up?

To help answer it, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and UB teamed up on April 25 to help families learn more about careers and internship opportunities in clinical care, research, education and entrepreneurship in the hospitals, research institutes and other organizations on the medical campus.

More than 500 parents and children attended the event.

“Our goal was to expose students and parents to the groundbreaking advancements in innovation and entrepreneurism that are contributing to the growth of the medical campus and how they can be a part of it,” says Sandra Small, workforce development associate at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS). “This collaborative event provided firsthand exposure to how science can be relevant to many career paths, encouraging people to stay here and go far.”

Small is lead coordinator for iSciWNY, the life sciences workforce development program at UB that helped to organize the event.

The event began with breakfast at dig, downtown Buffalo’s new co-work space at 640 Ellicott St.

Families were given a medical campus map and encouraged to tour 10 facilities, where they heard from experts and saw state-of-the-art research labs, hospital rooms, creative spaces and more. Among the activities they took part in were test-driving the Robotic Surgery Simulator (RoSS), using a microscope to view cancer cells, watching a pre-recorded surgery and pitching their entrepreneurial idea for the student edition of the popular television show “Shark Tank.”

“Connecting local students and adults to career opportunities on and off the medical campus is vital to our mission of furthering economic growth, igniting urban revitalization and building a strong, thriving community,” says Matthew K. Enstice, president and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. “By showcasing the extensive array of opportunities on the medical campus, we hoped to inspire the next generation of innovators, doctors, researchers and leaders.”

Students and others were encouraged to Tweet about the event using the hashtag #PictureYourselfBNMC.

The event was sponsored by AT&T and featured CBLS, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Kaleida Health, the Jacobs Institute, Unyts, Buffalo Manufacturing Works and the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center.

“AT&T’s partnership with the University of Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is an example of our commitment to provide resources for STEM-related educational programing in Western New York,” says Marissa Shorenstein, New York State president, AT&T. “This program is crucial to the success of our economy, which increasingly relies on a workforce steeped in technological education and literacy. Now, more than ever, the students of today need to be equipped with the skills to compete in the global economy of tomorrow,” she says.

“AT&T applauds all organizations involved in this event for exposing students and families to the type of career opportunities that are available in their own backyard if they follow a STEM educational path.”