Students practice drawing blood from a fake arm

Walking into the biomedical career fair looks sort of like a crime scene, with bloody evidence and a fake body lying on a table. But it’s all part of the Biomedical Career Fair at View Ridge Middle School, designed to inspire interest in courses at Ridgefield High School. 

The fair is a great way for the eighth grade students to learn more about biomedical science courses they can take at the high school next year. The fair was planned by high school students from the Ridgefield Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program who are already on the path to biomedical science careers as paramedics, nurses, and more. 

CAPS students staffed stations with hands-on activities for First Aid and CPR, blood draws, and bacteria growth. They also invited guests who work in the biomedical field, including community engagement liaison Lauren Reagan from Bloodworks Northwest, special agents from the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) Corey Graham and Brandon Trinidad, and firefighter Sean Creagan. 

CGIS special agents Graham and Trinidad taught the 8th graders how to collect fingerprints and swab for DNA at a crime scene. Graham gamely dropped and smeared fake blood on pieces of “evidence” before the event to create fingerprints and blood spatter. When they are on the job in real life, Graham and Trinidad investigate crimes that involve bodies of water. “Because of that, we have one of the largest jurisdictions in the world,” Trinidad said. “We investigate everything from petit larceny to murders, so we use all of these techniques.” 

The Bloodworks Northwest table was also popular with students. They used scoops to mix candy in bags, representing the mix of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in blood donations. Students learned that donating blood doesn’t take long at all, with the actual donation time taking only ten minutes. Savvy students also found chocolate chip cookies at the back of the table. “Because when you donate, we always have juice and cookies!” Reagan said with a smile.

Firefighter Sean Creagan brought his turnout gear, timing students as they jumped into the boots and pulled on the heavy coat and pants. The national standard is to be fully turned out and ready to go within one minute of an alarm. But Creagan has another connection to the biomedical career fair—his daughter Ellie, who is interested in nursing and environmental science. Ellie ran the station where students could paint by numbers using micropipettes to draw up the colors. “I have pictures of her in turnout gear from when she was little,” he said proudly. 

The CAPS students hope the career fair inspires more students to choose classes in biomedical science. Riley Simms, who is pursuing a career in nursing, showed students how to draw blood using fake arms. She knew the 8th graders would enjoy the courses. “We want kids to forecast in biomedical,” Simms said, “so we can grow these classes even more!”

Visit the district Facebook page to see more photos from the Biomedical Career Fair