Kathy Ryan, Ph.D., has a volunteer student from Longs Creek Elementary School dress up as conceived by 2nd and 3rd grade students. Photo by Steven Galvan
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
1 MAY 2014
For the past several years, Kathy Ryan, Ph.D., a physiologist and Chief of the Research Regulatory Compliance at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, has been speaking to elementary school students about her career and the combat casualty research that she has been involved in. On April 11, Ryan was a guest at the annual “Science Day” at Longs Creek Elementary School in San Antonio where she spoke to approximately 275 second-fourth grade students throughout the day.
“In the morning I spoke to fourth graders about what physiology is and what physiologists do,” said Ryan. “I also spoke about some key concepts in cardiovascular physiology.”
Ryan then had the students develop a hypothesis about what would happen to a pulse rate when changing postures or exercise.
“The students then performed the experiment, measuring their pulse rates after standing and then again after performing jumping jacks,” she said.
In the afternoon Ryan used a student volunteer to explore how second and third grade students conceive of scientists. The students were asked what scientists look like and what they wear.
“The volunteer was dressed accordingly in a lab coat, ‘Einstein hair,’ goggles, and gloves,” Ryan said. “The students’ eyes widened considerably when I pulled out ‘extra brains’ from a bag. They were actually bags of oatmeal. I then talked about how the anatomy of brains is related to intelligence of different species.”
Ryan said that several students from each class were familiar with the San Antonio Military Medical Center since they were from military families, but were not aware of the Institute.
“They had no idea of the research that we do for wounded warriors,” she said.
Ryan feels that it is important for students to not only be aware of the Institute, but to also give them an understanding of how the research is aimed at optimizing combat casualty care.