Exploring Post Meeting Recaps


September 22, 2014 – Joel Goodman, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and STARS Director

We had our biggest group of 120 people attend our Open House on September 22. Joel Goodman, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and STARS Director talked about the STARS program and its free programs and resources for middle and high school students. He then talked about his professional pathway to receiving his Ph.D. at UCLA and his current role as a research scientist at UT Southwestern Medical Center studying lipid droplet assembly and the role of lipodystrophy proteins in the process. Throughout his life Dr. Goodman has been able to pursue his passion for science and music. He is also an amateur classical pianist and has performed in piano competitions, most notably as a featured soloist with the Fort Worth Symphony.   


April 21, 2014 – Jonathan Weissler, M.D., Chief of Medicine, Professor, and Vice Chairman, Internal Medicine

For our April Exploring Post meeting, we had a presentation by Jonathan Weissler, M.D., Chief of Medicine, Professor, and Vice Chair of Internal Medicine. Dr. Weissler gave a presentation on his career as a pulmonologist and the different pathways that an academic physician can take, including his current administrative role as Chief of Medicine for UT Southwestern University Hospitals. He encouraged students to develop many skills other than science, such as business or public health.

March 24, 2014 – Gary Reed, M.D., Chief Quality Officer, Professor of Internal Medicine

Gary Reed, M.D., Chief Quality Officer & Professor, Internal Medicine

During our March Exploring Post meeting, we had a presentation by Gary Reed, M.D., Chief Quality Officer and Professor of Internal Medicine. Dr. Reed discussed his professional pathway to becoming an internal medicine doctor and his current administrative role as the Chief Quality Officer. After the presentation, we had officer elections. Current officers gave presentations on their duties for this past year, their experiences, and why students should nominate themselves or others for a leadership role. The following students will fulfill officer roles for the 2014–2015 year: Imari Parham (President), Christine Ramjee (Administrative VP), Anika Reddy (Program VP), and Kelsey Shipman (Secretary).

February 24, 2014 – Jeremy Reimers, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher II, Neurology and Neurotherapeutics

The Explorers learned about Neurology and Nuerotherapeutics from Jeremy Reimers, Ph.D. Dr. Reimers started with an activity to familiarize everyone with the brain and neurons. Then he talked about his path to a biomedical research career, his current teaching position, and his own experiences in the field working with animal models to study addiction as well as autism.

January 27, 2014 – Ryan Golden, MSTP Student, Molecular Biology

We had the biggest group to date of 89 students for the first meeting of 2014. There was a presentation by Ryan Golden, MSTP Student. He gave a presentation on his pathway to choosing an MSTP program, the requirements and components of the program, and his current graduate research in the Mendell Lab studying microRNAs and other noncoding RNAs in normal physiology and disease. After the presentation, the students went to the Willed Body Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center for an anatomy presentation. 

December 16, 2013 – Lauren Tyra, Student Research Assistant, Neuroscience

Looking at different phenotypes of Drosophila Melanogaster
For our last meeting of 2013, we had a presentation by Lauren Tyra, student research assistant. She gave a presentation on "Navigating Careers in Biological Sciences," followed by a hands-on activity on looking at different phenotypes of drosophila melanogaster under the microscope.
After the activity, several 2013 Summer Research Program alumni led a panel discussion session. The participating alumni were Cecilia Esquivel, senior at the Talented and Gifted Magnet School, Joseph Giroux, senior at Bryan Adams High School, and Sofia Joison, senior at J.J. Pearch High School. They talked about the application/interview process, lab experience, STARS experience, as well as their current college application process.

November 18, 2013 – Isabel Teo, Clinical Nutrition Student; and Peter Harris, Safety Specialist III.

Clinical Nutrition photo

There were two presentations during our November 18 meeting. During the first half, the Explorers had the privilege of listening to Isabel Teo, Clinical Nutrition Student.

They learned about sports/fitness nutrition and different labels that one might find on food packaging. Some of the labels are misleading, such as foods labeled fat-free. Fat free does not necessarily equal calorie-free, and as a result, many fat-free foods contain almost he same amount of calories. The members then received a specific food labels to inspect with one another and present to the group.

As a final activity, everyone was presented with a recipe to make a healthy sports drink at home. The second half of the meeting was led by Peter Harris, Safety Specialist III., on CPR and AED use. After a short presentation on the procedures, students were allowed to test out the newly learned skills on CPR mannequins. It was another successful meeting learning more about different health and science careers.

October 21, 2013 – Megan Farley, M.S., C.G.C., Genetic Counselor

Learning about genetics using Skittles

Our October 21 meeting was led by genetic counselor Megan Farley. She focused on:

  • How genetic counselors help patients identify risks of developing certain genetic disorders
  • Give advice on treatment options
  • The risks to future offspring

Ms. Farley also covered different genetic disorder markers and how her job is two-fold. The first was to tell the patients how to cope – this can include giving them information about treatments. The other part is telling them about other miscues or things that looked to be of future concern in both theirs and their child's DNA.

After her enlightening presentation, she led the Explorers on a hands-on genetic mutations activity with Pedigree Charts and Skittles.™

September 23, 2013 – Virginia Rady, R.N., M.S.N., ANP-C, Nurse Practitioner

Virginia Rady, R.N., M.S.N, Nurse Practitioner

During our Open House on September 23, we had our biggest group: 80 students. The presentation was by Virginia Ann Rady, a nurse practitioner. She provided us with some history of nurse practitioners, which came about in the 1960s as a result of the shortage of doctors in primary care. Nurse practitioners can make diagnoses and treatment plans, prescribe medications, and order referrals. Their main job is to educate the patient on what exactly is happening to them and why. Currently to become a nurse practitioner, one must get a bachelor’s degree, become a registered nurse, receive a master’s, and gain a state nurse practitioner’s license. In the future, more schooling will be required. Nurse practitioners are steadily becoming a more recognized and sought-after resource in a world with too few doctors.