High school females get hands-on orthopaedics experience at WVU’s Perry Initiative event

More than 30 young female high school students were able to work alongside West Virginia University orthopaedic clinicians and educators to participate in a transformative experience at the School of Medicine through The Perry Initiative.

Michelle Bramer, M.D., led the team of volunteers (see full list at the bottom of the article) to orchestrate a one-day career exploration event on Saturday, Dec. 9, as part of the Perry Outreach Program.

The Perry Initiative collaborates with medical centers, universities and high schools to organize Perry Outreach Programs for high school girls. These day-long events, conducted at over 45 locations nationwide, involve participants in simulated orthopaedic surgeries, biomechanical engineering experiments and insightful sessions with accomplished women engineers and surgeons.

Organizers say that the event benefits the faculty as much as the students.

“In dedicating our time, expertise and passion to this initiative, my team and I firmly believe that the benefits extend beyond the students, positively impacting the faculty as well,” said Dr. Bramer, M.D.

Organizers say students become mentors and role models, guiding attendees through the intricacies of suturing, casting, surgery and more, fostering confidence and opening doors to STEM-related careers for young women. 

For more information on the WVU Department of Orthopaedics, visit medicine.wvu.edu/orthopaedics.

Full list of volunteers:

  • Felicity Fisk M.D.;
  • Emilie Kramer, M.D.;
  • Julie Glener, M.D.;
  • Jennafir Ernst, M.D.;
  • Caitlyn Patton, M.D.;
  • Ashley Schoenian, OR nurse;
  • Holly Alleman, OR scrub tech;
  • Leigh Vargo, nurse anesthetist;
  • Julie Mitchell, OR scrub tech;
  • Addie Armstrong, OR scrub tech;
  • Ashlee Martinek, OR scrub tech;
  • Dominic Lombardo, medical student; and
  • Ryan Blake, medical student.