During Fridays all school assembly, in celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Dr. Nicole Solimini, PhD (Mom to Mason and Tyler, Grade 5) and Dr. Alyson Kelley-Hedgepeth (Mom to Milly, Grade 5) spoke to students and faculty about science, and how it relates to each of their specialized fields of medicine, what is involved in becoming a doctor, and lastly, what each of their specialties entails.

Dr. Solimini, PhD, a Scientific Director of Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, began the presentation by talking about her work as a Cell Biologist, with a mini lesson for our young scientists on cells: how they are tiny building blocks of life— just like bricks in a building— and make up all living things, with different cells serving different purposes. Dr. Solimini then shared that Cell Biologists are essentially detectives of a small world; they study how cells work, using their scientific research for discovery and innovation, and solving puzzles by asking questions, forming hypotheses, and experimenting—all things our DCD students do in their science classes each day!

Dr. Solimini also emphasized the importance of teamwork and collaboration, explaining how she works together with other doctors and colleagues from all over the world, sharing discoveries by publishing research in medical journals. Dr. Solimini also articulated a familiar phrase at DCD, that Learning Is a Way of Life! She asserted that it’s okay not to have all the answers, and how, just like students at DCD, we learn from every experiment – even failures. She emphasized that students should be curious, ask questions, and work to make the world better.

Dr. Alyson Kelley-Hedgepeth then took the stage, and talked about the different types of medical doctors, from pediatricians, to family medicine physicians, internists, surgeons and subspecialists, and she walked the audience through a typical educational path to become a Doctor. Dr. Kelley-Hedgepeth then shared her own educational journey in studying medicine, and ultimately, how she became a cardiologist, which, she explained, is a doctor that specializes in the Cardiovascular System, specifically the heart and blood vessels.

Dr. Kelley-Hedgepeth shared that as a Cardiologist, she helps patients that have heart problems, by acting like a detective— she completes various exams that give her clues, including physical examinations, blood work, and various other procedures, including echocardiograms and cardiac catheterizations. After presenting this fascinating information, Dr. Kelley-Hedgepeth had the audience stand up and walk through the process of finding one’s apical pulse— the room grew silent and still as students and faculty were able to feel their beating hearts!

Following the assembly, Grade 5 classrooms were lucky enough to have Dr. Solimini and Dr. Kelley-Hedgepeth share more exciting science! Dr. Solimini shared a hands-on science lab, where students had the opportunity to study two different cell types under microscopes— small intestine cells, and blood cells.

Dr. Alyson Kelley-Hedgepeth presented models of the heart that students had a chance to hold and study, along with various pace-makers of different sizes for the students to examine and feel. Students were amazed at how small these important life savings devices actually were.

We’re grateful for Dr. Nicole Solimini and Dr. Alyson Kelley-Hedgepeth’s visit, and feel incredibly fortunate for all that our DCD parents contribute to our community!