This week, OMRF opened its doors to a group of budding young scientists representing 17 elementary schools from the Putnam City school district.
These students were participants in the annual Putnam City Junior Scientist Days at the Oklahoma City-based biomedical research institute.
This is one way OMRF says thank you to the PC school district, whose students, teachers and parents have raised nearly $4 million for cancer research at OMRF. Each student participating in Junior Scientist Days is chosen to represent an elementary school in the PC district.
“I love science. Everything about it is cool,” said Harvest Hills fifth-grader Gracie Popchoke. “We analyzed cells and then looked at our own cells. We also looked at fish eggs under a microscope and saw an embryo that will look even more like a fish tomorrow. It was cool to see it in person.”
Other students got to suspend and mix DNA, some observed blood vessels, and other watched tiny worms race under a microscope.
“This is always a day we look forward to, and it’s an opportunity for us to give back to students who have done so much for us,” said OMRF scientist Linda Thompson, Ph.D., who holds the Putnam City Schools Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research at OMRF. “To have such a devoted partner in the fight against cancer is tremendous, and we are very fortunate.”
The funding has helped support numerous projects, including research that helped develop an experimental treatment for a form of brain cancer currently in clinical trials at the Stephenson Cancer Center.
“We can’t thank Putnam City Schools enough for their continued support for more than four decades, but this is one way we are able to give back,” said OMRF Development Associate Marissa Valdez. “It’s clear from the looks on these kids’ faces that it’s a meaningful experience for them. To be able to provide this opportunity for this next generation of potential scientists is something we treasure.”