Middle school students learn about life as med students

For the second annual Ryan Open House, about 250 sixth graders from the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan spent a half day on the Baylor campus. The middle school students had a glimpse into the life of medical school students and the history of the college and Dr. Michael E. DeBakey.

The students received a warm welcome and words of encouragement from Dr. Bill Thomson, director of Baylor’s Center for Educational Outreach, and Dr. Nancy Moreno, senior associate director for the center.

“We are very excited that we were able to have Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan students visit again this year,” Moreno said. “These students work very hard so that they too may be students at Baylor or participate in other challenging STEM programs. It’s very rewarding to see the students having fun on our campus and learning about our rich history.”

Dr. Kenneth Mattox, professor of surgery at Baylor and chief of staff at Ben Taub Hospital, spoke about training under DeBakey and gave insight into DeBakey’s past. Mattox encouraged students to ask themselves what they can do better. He said DeBakey was a lifelong learner and always asked himself that same question.

After the opening remarks, the students were divided into groups and had the chance to walk around the campus for a more in-depth look at the college. The groups had a tour, led by medical students, of the DeBakey Museum and Library and listened to Glen Yarneau, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor, give an anatomy presentation.

The students heard from a panel of DeBakey High School for Health Professions graduates who are now medical students at Baylor. The panelists offered advice and encouragement to the students, teachers and parents in the room. Thomson moderated the panel and reminded the middle school students that if they were to attend DeBakey High School they would be fortunate enough to enjoy the school’s new campus.

The BCM Academy at Ryan students also participated in a hands-on activity involving skewers and ping-pong balls to teach them how to work as a team and solve problems. The goal of the activity was to build the tallest, most stable tower out of the materials provided. Each group had four winners. Dr. Paul Klotman, Baylor CEO and president, congratulated the winning teams and was asked to autograph hats that students won.

The HISD magnet middle school, located at the historic Ryan Middle School site, focuses on the health sciences and is aligned with the Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, which BCM and HISD have jointly operated since 1972.