By Dr. Svetlana Komarova
Last week, the Canada-Wide Science Festival was hosted by McGill University. I had the honour to help organize the Faculty of Dentistry’s presence at this event. I would like to thank everyone for their incredible help, time, effort and enthusiasm for making this a successful event. We had a 3-day presentation at the Dentistry booth during the public viewing of the finalist’s projects. It took 5 dedicated teams, who worked for 3 hours each to promote our Faculty and depict Dentistry as an exciting, diverse, technologically-advanced and people-oriented field. We had a crowd of children AT ALL TIMES! Our booth easily competed with those much more visual of robotics and oceanic sciences, thanks to the different hands-on activities we planned. These activities attracted young kids (there were elementary school children with parents and at least 2 group visits from elementary schools) and teenagers (of which there were many and of all kinds of backgrounds). Here’s what we did: Three posters were created to showcase clinical and research activities at the Faculty. Special thanks to Nicholas Mikolajewicz, Amarjot Singh, Turney McKee, Frances Wang, Iris Boraschi Diaz, Peter Lee, Juliana Marulanda, Muthu Muthu and Kaushar Jahan.
May 18th – 10AM to 1PM
Team members: Amarjot Singh, Frances (Guan Yun) Wang and Peter (Seunghwan) Lee Theme: Pain Research Activity: Cold Sensitivity Study. This was embraced by all the boys, who wanted to try their right hand, then left hand, brought all their friends over and were very happy with their toughness. Demonstration: Brain Architechture. *A big thank you to Dr. Geoffroy Noel for allowing us to use the anatomy models and to Iris Boraschi Diaz for arranging it.
May 18th – 1PM to 4PM Team members: Juliana Montoya, Iris Boraschi Diaz, Turney McKee and Kaushar Jahan. Theme: Clinical and Biomaterial Research Activity: Sculpting molars from clay, Playdough Fill and Drill, and making jewelry using dental wire. Demonstration: Different types of novel materials. *Special thanks to Juliana Marulanda for developing many hands on activities and getting the supplies.
May 18th – 4PM to 7PM
Team members: Nicholas Mikolajewicz and Muthu Muthu. Theme: Bone Cells and Tissues. Activity: Making shapes with orthodontic wire Demonstration: Anatomy model of scull bones.
May 19th – 9AM to 12PM Team members: Dr. Nathalie Morin, Leonardo Nassani and Amélie Fournier. Theme: Carious Lesions Diagnosis. Activity: Detection of caries on extracted teeth using a periodontal probe. (There were kids staying in line to get their chance to do this!)
May 20th – 9AM to 12PMTeam members: Haider Al-Waeli, Basem Danish, Hugo Lopez Diaz and Kari Bond. Theme: Oral Health Research and Service to the Community. Activity: Simulated flossing Demonstration: Mobile Outreach Clinics videos. *Special thanks to Dr. Frances Power for the Mobile Clinic presentation.
And last, but not least, big thanks for Petra Schweinhardt and Florence Pomares who organized one of the Mini-McGill sessions at the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain on May 18th, and to Marie-Claude Loignon, who was preparing another mini-McGill visit to the preclinical lab, which was canceled because the organizers decided that it is too far from the location of the Science Festival. Our presence was undeniably successful. But I think that everyone who was at the booth also agree that it was FUN (with all the capital letters) and that it was immensely gratifying and heartwarming to be there to experience all the interest, curiosity and enthusiasm of the student visitors. As I also took part in the judging the Science Festival projects, and I know a number of Dentistry professors and graduate students who did as well, I have to say how amazing it was to see the variety and rigor of the projects that high school students completed for the Science Festival. I felt both humbled and empowered by the students’ courage in taking on the most difficult projects, their perseverance in the face of limited resources and their bottomless enthusiasm. Deepest thanks again to all who helped making our small part in this great activity a success!