Kids at Work Get Hands-on Lessons in Communications

About 20 school-age girls learned about the exciting field of stem cell research and the role of Public Affairs in communicating its significance recently when they visited the University during the annual Kids at UCSF Day. (See video) Some 365 boys and girls ages 9 to 13 registered for the half-day event organized by the Center for Gender Equity. UCSF staff, faculty, students, postdocs, residents and fellows were invited to bring their children or children in their community to participate in Kids at UCSF Day on April 26. The concept for the day was created by the Ms. Foundation as a national effort to counter the negative effects of sex role stereotyping on girls. Workplaces that have developed activities and events attempt to address issues confronting adolescent and pre-adolescent girls. UCSF has sponsored its own Kids at UCSF Day: Promoting Equity for Girls and Boys program for more than 10 years. Although created initially for girls, the event has been opened to boys for the past several years.
Angela Xu, Josephine Hass, Sydney Locksley, Vallena Lipske, Lizelle Lucas, Mikaela Washington, Morgan Locksley, Alexandra Carey and Rebekah Kirkwood

Visiting UCSF are girls, from back to front and left to right, Angela Xu, Josephine Hass, Sydney Locksley, Vallena Lipske, Lizelle Lucas, Mikaela Washington, Morgan Locksley, Alexandra Carey and Rebekah Kirkwood.

Public Affairs staff members introduced the girls, who were mostly fifth- through seventh-graders, to the joys of journalism as they interviewed researchers, wrote stories, shot video and took photos at the academic health center. For some girls, like Alexandra Carey, 9, and Karin Vaughan, 11, this was their first glimpse behind the scenes of UCSF's vast research enterprise and their first opportunity to see their parents at their professions. Vaughan is the daughter of Chris Vaughan, manager of the fee-for-service creative team, and Carey is the daughter of Lisa Cisneros, editor of UCSF Today.
Josephine Hass

Josephine Hass interviews graduate student Collin Melton during Kids at UCSF Day on
April 26.

For others, like twins Morgan and Sydney Locksley, daughters of Richard Locksley, MD, UCSF professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology, this was their third time participating in the event. The Locksley girls were among those who learned about web communications from Thom Watson, manager of web communications, and about multimedia production from Cisneros and Julie Bernstein at the Public Affairs office at Laurel Heights. The girls first practiced their interviewing techniques with each other before taking a shuttle to the Parnassus campus to interview scientists at the stem cell laboratory of Susan Fisher, PhD, UCSF professor of cell and tissue biology. There, they met up with another group of girls who were led in a hands-on study of human embryonic stem cells and the cells they turn into -- including brain and heart cells. Guided by Matthew Gormley, Elizabeth Mack and three other members of the Fisher lab, the girls worked one-on-one at the lab bench, studying the cells under microscopes. Each drew an illustration of the cells and wrote an article about what they'd learned.
Alexandra Carey interviews Yana Stolyarov

Alexandra Carey, a third-grader at St. Cecilia School in San Francisco, interviews Yana Stolyarov, a research technician, in a stem cell lab at UCSF.

Gormley explained the concept of regenerative medicine, which involves nudging stem cells in the cell culture dish to evolve, or differentiate, into the specialized cells that make up each of the body's tissues. Scientists are working to figure out how to control this specialization. This requires identifying the many genetic steps that lead a cell to evolve one way or another. Vallena Lipske, a seventh-grader and niece of UCSF's Ramona Lipske, woke up before dawn at her home in Santa Rosa to make it to San Francisco in time for the event. She enjoyed taking photos with the digital camera for this story. Lipske described the event as "a great, valuable experience that was also fun. I had a blast!" Group Photo/Lisa Cisneros Related Links: Kids at Work video UCSF Center for Gender Equity