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GMR students leave Inspire Conference inspired for different reasons

Seven GMR junior students and GMR Science teacher Chad Stromlund attended the Inspire Conference at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on November 16. They are pictured at the conference with Ken Rosen, a Minnesota FIRST Robotics Representative. They are (L-R): Front: Sarah Stanelle, Piper Sondreal, McKayla Housey; Back: Chad Stromlund, Ken Rosen, Abbie Wagner, BreeAnna Novacek-Pratt, Andy Dostal, and Jacob Bergsnev. (submitted photo)

Sean Moen engineers robots to assist with surgeries and other medical procedures, allowing these surgeries and procedures to be done in rural hospitals and clinics by trained professionals without them actually physically being there.

“He (Moen) also stated that he believed that robots would not replace actual humans, but were just there to help,” Greenbush-Middle River junior Abbie Wagner said.

She was detailing just one of the breakout sessions–this one titled, “The Future of Neuro Robotics”– at the Institute for Engineering in Medicine Inspire Conference from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on November 16. She and six other GMR junior students– Piper Sondreal, McKayla Housey, Sarah Stanelle, BreeAnna Novacek-Pratt, Jacob Bergsnev and Andy Dostal attended this conference with GMR High School science teacher Chad Stromlund.

At a presentation to peers in GMR teacher Mary Anderson’s room on November 20, the students discussed the reasons they attended the conference, summarized the speakers and sessions they experienced at this conference, and explained what they got from the experience.

Sondreal wanted to go to the Inspire Conference due to her desire to try new things. She found just that at this conference.

“Even though I don’t want to do anything in the engineering or medical field, it still expands my horizons and what’s out there,” Sondreal said.

Meanwhile, Housey is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, as cancer research has sparked her interest and this conference delved more into this interest.

“Going to this kind of gave me the chance to learn a little bit more about cancer and one of the guys that we listened to explained how broad cancer is,” Housey said … (He explained how) you can’t narrow down cancer; it’s pretty broad. So trying to think of everyone’s cancer as being the same is like trying to boil the ocean.”

Housey learned this lesson during just one of the smaller breakout group sessions– this one titled, “Cancer Research in 2020 and Beyond”. The students broke out into eight different smaller group sessions of eight minutes each– four during the morning and four during the afternoon. The students had two minutes for questions and answers at the end of these sessions.

Besides cancer research and neuro robotics, other sessions the students attended included: “3-D Printing for Spinal Cord Therapy”, “Cardiac Surgery: Best Job Ever!”, “Innovation Through Transformation”, “Virtual Patients”, “Using $50 Computers to Open Pharmacies in West Africa” and “Bringing Blood Pressure Monitoring to Ghana and Kenya”.

To see the complete story, read the December 19 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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