Metro students explore intersection of engineering and medicine during Perry Outreach Program

More than 30 high school girls sawed, drilled, stitched and measured their way to a better understanding of career opportunities in orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering during a Perry Outreach Program sponsored by KC STEM Alliance on Oct. 1.


According to the Perry Initiative, women are still underrepresented in certain medical fields as well as in engineering. Engineers and orthopedic surgeons work hand-in-hand to develop safe and effective implants for repairing broken bones, torn ligaments, and worn-out joints. To build awareness of career opportunities for women, the Perry Initiative runs more than 30 outreach programs nationwide. The KC STEM Alliance has sponsored the program in Kansas City since 2012.


The day-long event took place at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley’s Health Science Institute with mentors from Children’s Mercy Hospital, University of Missouri Medical Schools and the University of Kansas.


The national Perry Initiative was co-founded by Dr. Jenni Buckley, a mechanical engineer and professor at the University of Delaware, with the goal of encouraging more girls to explore the orthopedic engineering field.


“This workshop illustrates in a very personal way some of the opportunities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields,” said KC STEM Alliance Director Martha McCabe. “Offering the chance to drill and saw bone models, suture lacerations and try other hands-on techniques show girls how medicine and engineering relate.”