Starting off with an explanation of our immune system and how it works, we discussed different kinds of immunity and the type that vaccines confer. We next delved into the stages of vaccine development, and eventually landed on the COVID-19 vaccines and what made them similar and different compared to the vaccines before them.
Given differing public opinions, we designed this session to inform students about vaccines, and to encourage them to do their own research. The key take-away here was to seek out reliable (and multiple!
) sources of information.
During the first breakout room session, students were able to simulate an outbreak, with and without a vaccine, to see how it is that a highly vaccinated population developed herd immunity, thereby protecting even the unvaccinated from the virus.
In the second session, students were given insight on what it's like to be a clinical trial participant, including the measures taken to protect the participants.
We got some feedback that the session boosted STEM interest and confidence, or reinforced dreams of pursuing STEM careers -
"My dream is to become a doctor and participating in this workshop has given me a new drive to pursue that dream."
"Boosts my knowledge because id like to be a doctor one day."
"It has increased my love for engineering."
For others, it increased their knowledge of the field, with one student having a chuckle over their newly found knowledge:
"I did not know what herd immunity was. I hadn't even HERD of it. Get my joke?"
We get the joke :)
But one thing the students all had in common? They would all attend another STEPS workshop!
Here's to another successful STEPS, thank you for your continued support!!!