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SDSU Students and Faculty Volunteer at Aberdeen Camp Med

Erickson with Students at Camp Med
Kassi Erickson teaching middle school students at Camp Med

On April 22nd, students and faculty from the Department of Allied and Population Health volunteered at the Aberdeen Camp Med where they taught middle school students about health care practices. Camp Med is an annual opportunity for young students to learn about various aspects of health care with the goal of inspiring them to become interested in health care careers. 85 seventh and eighth graders attended this year’s Camp Med in Aberdeen, SD.

Camp Med is put on by the South Dakota Area Health Education Center (SD AHEC). According to Mikayla Titus, director of community programs and operations for the Northeast SD AHEC, “the Aberdeen Camp Med is a part of the SD Department of Health’s career exploration initiatives that look to get students interested in health careers, especially in those areas that South Dakota needs the most.” SD AHEC also hosts Scrubs Camps with the similar goal of allowing young students a chance to complete activities alongside health care professionals so they can learn more about the world of health care.

SDSU faculty that attended the Aberdeen Camp Med included Kassi Erickson, an instructor in the Medical Laboratory Science program at SDSU. She was accompanied by three MLS students: Kayla Augustine, Abbey D’Zurilla and Jordyn Mans.  

Mans and D'Zurilla working with students at Camp Med
Jordyn Mans and Abbey D'Zurilla work with students at Camp Med

Erickson, Augustine, D’Zurilla and Mans led students in ten-minute sessions. During each session, the students got a chance to learn about and try their hands at streaking agar plates. In microbiology labs, agar plates are used to test bacterial growth in things like urine, stool, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Erickson and her students recreated the practice by using apple juice, brownies and water, “incubated” the samples, then replaced them with colored agar plates representing the bacterial growth that would take place during incubation. The students also got the opportunity to wear lab coats and gloves and look at a gram stain through a microscope.    

The middle schoolers were not the only ones who had fun during the activities. For Erickson, “the best part of the experience were the students who genuinely seemed interested and were fascinated with what we were doing.”

The Aberdeen Camp Med is an annual event and is expected to be held again next year. This is the first time Erickson has attended a Camp Med event, though she has volunteered at Scrubs Camps in the past. Erickson says that she “absolutely” plans on attending again in the future.

Augustine at Camp Med
Kayla Augustine prepares an agar plate for students

The next SD Camp Med will be held on May 10 in Yankton. For a full list of dates and to learn more about Camp Med and Scrubs Camps, follow the link below:

Learn more about Camp Med