Students explore similarities of medicine, energy, aerospace at Pumps & Pipes

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Forty HISD students experienced what it would be like to be a surgeon and an engineer at  Pumps and Pipes, where thousands of medicine, energy and aerospace professionals and researchers exchanged ideas and explored crossover technologies in each industry.

“The aerospace, energy and medical fields have different techniques, but they basically use the same concepts,” said Energy Institute High School sophomore Shawn Attar.

Students from Energy, Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Furr High School, Kashmere High School, Lamar High School, M.C. Williams Middle School, and South Early College High School attended the annual event Monday, Dec. 8 at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. The event is organized by ExxonMobil, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, University of Houston, and NASA.

Students were welcomed to the event by NASA astronauts aboard the international space station and explored interactive stations with cardiovascular devices and underwater robotics for students to test. They also got to wear scrubs and try their hands at using endoscopy surgery tools and 2D technology medical devices used by doctors in surgery procedures such as abdominal surgery.

“You have to keep a steady hand to perform the procedure correctly otherwise you could make a mistake that can prove fatal,” said Energy Institute tenth-grader Amber Farias.

Farias won the surgical informatics challenge by using the endoscopy tools to move foam pieces and jumping Mexican beans into a petri dish. She completed the task in five seconds compared to other students who finished in 15 to 20 seconds.

“I think it was really beneficial for the students to see different industries come together to solve one problem,” said Energy Institute magnet coordinator Jenna Moon. “What we’re trying to teach our kids is project-based learning, critical thinking and collaboration because these are skills they need to be successful in their future.”