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2nd Annual PharmCAMP Features Fascinating Lessons for Young Students

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DNA extraction, prescription drug safety, and antibiotic awareness are generally graduate-level topics, but that did not stop Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) children at the 2nd Annual PharmCAMP. Hosted by Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) on two Saturdays in March, student volunteers creatively used strawberries, ice cream, and Play-Doh to introduce complex science lessons to children.

Even in the middle of seven hours of activities, one student said “I never want this to end.” Another student said: “This was my best Saturday ever.”

On the first Saturday, March 3, KGI hosted 70 elementary school children, while one week later, 90 RUSD middle and high school students visited.

“Coordinators, volunteers, and organizations all had to work together in creating this large-scale event,” said Mintra Muanraksa, PharmD ’19, who was one of the PharmCAMP student coordinators. “The success of PharmCAMP inspires all of us to continue learning from one another as leaders. With many different student organizations involved, the contributions and ideas provided RUSD students a wide range of activities.”

The interactive 45-minute workshops were planned and executed by School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences student organizations, including: SSHP, RDC-NORD, Oncology Club, CAPSLEAD, VAPSA, CPhA, SCCP, IPhO, CKPhA, Phi Delta Chi, APhA, and SNPhA.

“PharmCAMP was a huge success this year,” said Kim Nguyen, PharmD ’18. “Teachers and parents heard about the program last year and proactively approached me to secure a spot for this year’s PharmCAMP. It was extremely rewarding to hear students talk about how much they loved PharmCAMP and their interest in coming back next year.”

The young attendees learned DNA extraction using strawberries. Then they went to the next workshop of compounding ice cream and learning about the phases of matter. From there, it was off to making Play-Doh, seeing the pulse on their wrist, and checking their heartrate. KGI students also introduced topics such as diabetes, poison prevention, and IV bags.

“It was truly a great experience!” said Rhonda Savage, a teacher at Milor High School. “The kids came back inspired and shared their experiences with other students. We can’t wait until next year!”