Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lorenzo's Oil - Some people make their own miracles.

The movie Lorenzo's oil is the true story of how one family uses science to find a way to treat their son when he gets the debilitating disease adenoleukodystrophy (ALD). The research the doctors were doing was taking too long, so Lorenzo's parents identified the problem which caused the disease and tested their hypotheses about how the disease could be treated. Boys who get ALD now use the treatment that Lorenzo's parents invented.

If you were absent during the movie you can watch it for free on HULU

Here are a couple of obituaries of Lorenzo Odone who passed away the day after his 30th birthday... 22 years after the doctors predicted he would die.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Summer Opportunities - all sorts!

The following summer opportunities are in a wide range of fields including psychology, law, theater, digital video production, 3D modeling, creative writing, medicine, science and more. Please read through them and see what interests you. Some of them even pay you to have a great learning experience over the summer.
Psychology Summer Program

This summer, IIT Institute of Psychology is offering "Psychology in Everyday Life" to introduce high school students to the profession of psychology. The one week workshop will be a rich learning experience designed to help students make the connection between psychological principles and human behavior in everyday life. Students will acquire a broad array of facts about the developing child, the aging adult and everything else that occurs across the lifespan.

Cost $485 (some scholarships available)

When: June

Applications are due: May

Contact: Kristin Moriarty 312.567.3502

Pritzker School of Medicine (YSTP)

The Pritzker School of Medicine Office of Multicultural Affairs is now accepting applications for their summer Young Scientists Training Program (YSTP). This is a 10-week summer program for up to ten outstanding minority high school students to gain experience in research, medicine, and the biological sciences. Students work in the laboratories of University of Chicago faculty where they learn basic or clinical research in the areas of diabetes, endocrinology, nutrition, obesity, digestive, liver, urologic, kidney, or blood disorders.

When June – August

Deadline March 20

Goodman Theater General Theater Studies

A FREE six-week theater intensive for students 14 to 19-year-old in the Chicago metropolitan area, General Theater Studies gives students the opportunity to learn skills from local theater professionals that are instantly applicable not only to the world of theater, but also their world at large. This summer program is designed to validate the voices of its participants, get them to examine their own potential for creativity and introduce them to all elements of the creation of theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. GTS will culminate in public presentations of an original performance created by the participants!

Cost: Free

When June – July

Contact 312.443.5581 or email

The Chicago Summer Business Institute (CSBI)

CSBI provides a six-week paid internship program for high school sophomores and juniors each summer.  These internships take place at various banks, accounting, engineering, and law firms throughout the Loop and business districts.  In conjunction with a 28-hour workweek, students attend half-day classroom seminars and workshops every week where they learn about the financial markets, attend seminars given by successful business executives, and participate in team building programs.

Eligibility Requirements:

Student must currently be a Sophomore or Junior;  
Student must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher;  
Student must attend either a public, parochial or private high school;  
Student must be a resident of the City of Chicago;  

When June - August

Deadline: March (must attend readiness workshop on April 2)

For information or to apply:

Contact Debra Carson, Program Director at 312-545-7855

Project Exploration’s Discover Your Summer Guide
Discover Your Summer is a guide to summer science opportunities. It is filled with information on more than 175 programs in Chicago, the Midwest, and beyond.
All of our youth programs are free, eliminating the cost barrier that prevents low-income students from accessing dynamic out-of-school time science programs.
For information or to apply:
Contact 773.834.7614 or email

National Bar Association  Crump Law Camp

The National Bar Association Crump Law Camp was established to provide students entering the ninth through eleventh grades (between the ages of 14 and 17) with an introduction to the American judicial system. Campers will be housed on the campus of Howard University and live in a protected campus environment. The inaugural two-week camp was held at Howard University School of Law. The camp provides students with an exciting academic and social agenda, which includes field trips in the Washington, DC area. The competitive highlight of the camp is the Evett L. Simmons Mock Trial Competition. The four winners of this competition are invited to the NBA's Annual Convention. Washington, DC.

Cost: varies Free-$1400 (sliding scale)

When: July

Deadline: April

Information or apply:  301-249-8355

CDC Disease Detective Camp

The CDC Disease Detective Camp (DDC) is a 5 day academic day camp for high school juniors and seniors during the upcoming school year. Campers will take on the roles of disease detectives and learn how CDC safeguards the nation's health.

When: June session and July session

Deadline: April

For more info and to apply to go

Expressing yourself through writing: (For African Americans only)

African American Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute (AAAMSLI)

The African American Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute helps connect young black males to literacy as a possible way out of violence and poverty. Students read and write about their plight and issues affecting their generation, while learning valuable life skills. "The institute focuses on using a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts as tools to support African-American adolescent males to write about the multiple contexts that shape their lives". The institute features reading, writing, spoken word and mentoring to help nurture the next generation of socially conscious readers and writers. Five young males will be selected for a two-day trip to Harlem in August, and have their writings critiqued by Walter Dean Myers.

Cost: Free (students paid a $150 stipend)

When: July, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

Where: UIC Reading Clinic, 1040 W. Harrison St. (L268 - level)

For more information about UIC, please visit

Contact: Alfred W. Tatum, Ph.D. Director of the UIC Reading Clinic/Associate Professor (312) 413-3883

African American Adolescent Female Summer Literacy Institute (AAAFSLI)

See above, but for females 11-17 yo

Contact: Lynette Danley at 312-996-4508 (office)

The summer academy at DePaul – Media, digital video, 3D digital animation

This is a week long program held at DePaul University's Loop campus for High school students. They will receive hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology and will be taught by faculty from DePaul's School of Cinema and Interactive Media with real world experience.  Areas of focus will include digital cinema production, 3D computer modeling and animation for games and cinema and computer game development. This intensive week-long session will provide motivated students with a valuable educational experience as well as an advantage in today's competitive world of college admission.

Cost $750

Deadline: June 1st

When: July

Information contact:

The High School Summer Institute at Columbia College

This is an intensive non-residential 5-week program for creative high school students that have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year of study who want to immerse themselves in the visual, media, and communication arts.

Students spend the summer exploring their ideas, developing the technical skills that bring their ideas to life, and earning college credit while they’re at it. High School Summer Institute students study with the same working professionals and scholars who teach Columbia’s undergraduates. Students also hone their craft in Columbia’s state-of-the-art facilities—film and video production and post-production studios, photography labs, animation labs, graphic design labs, dance studios, concert halls, theater stages, radio station, recording facilities, art studios, performance spaces, television studios, and more.

When: July – August

Application Deadline: June

Friday, March 4, 2011

Water intoxification: Hold your wee for a wii contest

Take a look at this short MSNBC news story about Jennifer Strange and her death by hyponatremia.

This link describes the sports medicine concern with hyponatremia that occurs in athletes who sweat a lot during an event, and then drink large amounts of water. Jennifer was not sweating like an athlete, but her body reacted in a similar way.

CBS News also did a story a few days later explaining a bit more about the consequences for the people who worked for the radio station.

It turns out that the DJs were joking about a person who died from water intoxication two years prior to their Wii contest... so they knew it was dangerous. The radio station was sued by Jennifer Strange's family and had to pay them quite a bit. The following article from the LA Times newspaper gives the details.

Bacteria: WANTED DEAD or ALIVE - Due March 15th

Wanted Poster

Bacteria Wanted Poster Assignment:

1. Use the internet to find out what you can about one type of bacteria.
2. Give it a nickname or AKA that tells us something about it. 
3. Write its "M.O." - what the police call its way of acting on the body... how does it do its thing? 
4. Write 3 reasons it is either good for people or bad for people.
5. Draw one or more pictures of the bacteria
6. Draw a picture of where the bacteria can be found or what it does to people

Some bacteria to research and then pick one:
·      Escherichia coli (e-coli)
·      Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
·      Treponema pallidum (Syphilis)
·      Lactobacillus (good guy)
·      Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax)
·      Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough)
·      Streptococcus pyogenes (strep throat and in extreme cases flesh eating bacteria aka necrotizing fasciitis)
·      Or you can find another bacterium that affects people
  1. NO cutting and pasting from the web. All text must be in your words. At least two images must be drawn, then you may add additional images which you print out if you like.
  2. Keep track of your sources and write them on the back of your poster – full url’s
  3. Start poster in pencil, but add color using colored pencils, crayons or markers
  4. e-mail me with questions at

Some places to look, but you may find your own sources as well.