On a Saturday morning in early February, three Sacred Heart students - junior Sophia Zollinger and sophomores Olivia Boyd and Olivia Finch - reported to Tulane’s campus for a valuable glimpse into a medical career. As participants in the Perry Initiative high school outreach program, the girls spent the day shadowing physicians, attending lectures and panel discussions and participating in a simulated knee reconstruction
The Perry Initiative is a nonprofit organization founded to address the significant gap of female practioners in the fields of Orthopaedic Surgery and Engineering. Their popular outreach programs are currently in place in 40 locations around the country and designed to target female high school students who they hope will be inspired to build the pipeline of females in these growing professions.
"The Perry Initiative is a great, full-day experience for our students interested in medicine,” said Allie Pierson, College Counselor for the Academy of the Sacred Heart. “The students spend the day participating in hands-on activities under the supervision and instruction of medical professionals and doctors. I highly recommend this program to those interested in pursuing a medical career to see first-hand what a day in the life of a doctor or surgeon is really like."
This program is differentiated by its realistic curriculum, the involvement of local professionals who share the goal of inspiring females, and that it is offered at no cost to students. Participants in the program are selected through a competitive process based on essays submitted to the national organization.
The feedback from our students was glowing, and we look forward to continued presence of the Perry Initiative in New Orleans to build upon the momentum and interest from local schools.
“At the Perry Initiative, we learned about and were able to ‘perform’ some basic orthopedic procedures, like IM nail insertion, constructing external fixation devices, basic and running sutchering, cast application, knee reconstruction, meniscus repair and internal fixation,” said program participant and current sophomore at Sacred Heart Olivia Boyd. “We also learned about severe lack of women in orthopedic medicine, so having the opportunity to learn about the field was an eye opening and exciting experience.”
“The Perry Initiative was an incredible program that confirmed my desire to pursue a STEM career,” said sophomore Olivia Finch. “It was truly inspiring to meet women so dedicated to their fields, and it is a day I will never forget.”
Junior Sophia Zollinger reiterated the benefits of the day, saying “I had an amazing experience. I got to do hands on work which really helped me understand what the doctors do. We also had speakers and they were extremely informative. I definitely recommend other students doing this program if they are interested in the medical or engineering field.”