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East Arbor Rams Explore Big Dreams at ‘The Big House’

In late May, 27 middle school students and four teacher/chaperones participated in the “Youth Summit at the Big House”. This event, sponsored by Michigan Medicine’s Office for Health Equity and Inclusion, provided middle school students with opportunities to interact with dozens of Michigan Medicine departments whose staff prepared simulation stations, games, and presentations for students outlining the roles and responsibilities of their professions.
East Arbor student looks through a microscope
Students checking out something under the microscope.

“It was fantastic. It was the first time I've really seen that kind of enthusiasm out of the students since before COVID-19,” Kristi Mawby, East Arbor Charter Academy academic intervention paraprofessional said. “It was a boost forward in a project that for me has been on the back burner since COVID. I’d like to start a future medical professionals club.”
Mawby said she just happened upon information about the event when she was on the University of Michigan’s school website. It was past the registration date at that point. So, she called and pled her case to get her middle school students registered.

 East Arbor student and teacher
Kristi Mawby, East Arbor academic intervention paraprofessional, with one of her students, organized the trip to the Michigan Medicine Youth Summit.

“We are 10 miles from the main University of Michigan campus,” Mawby said. “They even sent a bus to pick us all up! The Health Summit was actually held at the football stadium, due to rain, it was held under the stadium seating in the concessions area.”
This was the first year the Youth Summit was held, and 300 students attended. Thirty-four Michigan Medicine Departments were represented. Students could speak to a diverse group of healthcare professionals. Topics ranged from daily habits to prepare for a career in medicine to exactly how long you have to go to school to be a neurologist. Students were encouraged to pursue their dreams of working in the field of healthcare. Michigan Medicine created this YouTube video highlighting the event.

 East Arbor students at the University of Michigan Youth Summit
It was a full day of activities with lunch included.

The summit included motivational TED-style talks, networking with Michigan Medicine employees, and an opportunity for the students to experience fun stadium field time. After completing the challenging tasks, students decompressed by playing soccer and running about on the wolverine gridiron with students from other area schools. The students were actually able to run onto the football field through the tunnel the way the players do.
Students heard panel discussions and guest speakers such as nurses, doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, respiratory therapy, and pathologists from all areas of healthcare.
Then there were simulations where the kids were able to act as though they were the professionals. They were able to zap a kidney stone, able to lift someone in a Hoyer lift from a chair to a bed. They could even intubate a newborn baby training mannequin.
It was a full day, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and everyone was fed lunch at the stadium which the students also enjoyed.

 East Arbor teacher smiling
This student has some fun at the orthopedic booth.

“In the YouTube video (1:39), you see the student who talks about how he went to the therapy station and how he plans to be a therapist,” Mawby said. “He found out it could take 12 years and he said he guesses he is in it for the long haul! That’s one of our students and he was not discouraged by that. He is motivated.”
As an academic intervention paraprofessional, Mawby provides support in reading and math to the middle school students. She is always working to bring purpose to the things she tries to teach the student every day.

 East Arbor teacher helping student
Students could even intubate a newborn baby training mannequin.

“I’m trying to encourage them and show them that math, fractions and decimals are important in the real world, for example if you have to calculate a medication for an infant” Mawby said. “You need math. I try to bring the reality of why we are making them study what they study. And try to get them to dig school instead of dread it.”
Congratulations Ms. Mawby on accomplishing your mission!

About East Arbor Charter Academy
East Arbor Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Ypsilanti, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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