Science Outreach with On Track OHSU!

On Track OHSU! is a program developed by OHSU's Office of Science Education Opportunities to support underrepresented Portland students (grades 6-12) in the sciences. Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition sponsored two nutrition and dietetics educational experiences recently for students from Jefferson and Woodburn High Schools. The following pictures and masters students involved were from our second experience with Woodburn High on January 7, 2016.

OnTrack STEM Presentation - OnTrack students and GPHN group altogether 

Our Master's Program Director, Melanie Gillingham, MS, PhD, RD, LD, started the event by introducing herself, why and how she became involved as a dietitian and researcher, and gave a general overview of the field of dietetics and nutrition.

The students were then broken up into three groups, where they had a discussion with and were taught by our master's students. Every group was able to rotate through each station. Sarah Larimer walked the high school students through a diabetic diet education, meal planning tips, etc. Kayla Guillory discussed eating, cooking, and enjoying balanced meals with family members. Natalie Gavi reviewed nutrition research and some simple methods for gathering data, like hand grip strength tests and BIA machines.

By the end of the session, the students had learned about pathways to becoming a dietitian, simple nutrition concepts like balanced meal planning, and some nutrition research methods.

OnTrack STEM Presentation - OnTrack students practice hand grip strength testing

High School student feedback from the Jefferson visit (12/10/2015) included:

  • "I learned a lot about my health. I also learned about how they help people with diabetes."
  • "All of the professor/mentors/doctors are so inspirational and motivated."
  • "I learned the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist…a dietitian is certified."
  • "I was inspired by OHSU students/researchers paths of how they got where they are today."
  • "We learned about how dietitians play a big role in communities, and helping people with diabetes."
  • "I learned more about the job of a dietitian, which was important because now I think I want to do that some day."

Community involvement and outreach is an important goal for our program and we hope that these On Track OHSU! sessions provided some inspiration to future scientific leaders.

 OnTrack STEM Presentation - Natalie Gavi and OnTrack students OnTrack STEM Presentation - Melanie Gillingham demonstrates hand grip testing










OnTrack STEM Presentation - OnTrack student tests for body fat percentage with BIA Machine  OnTrack STEM Presentation - Sarah Larimer, GPHN Masters student