Henry Pratt and Alexi Sege Selected to be apart of the Annual SPRI Program

Jason Sherpa, Staff Writer

This year will be the 10th anniversary of the Steadman Philippon research institutes youth education and outreach program, which started in hopes of boosting interest in Science for local children. The Steadman Philippon Research Institute is a world-renowned orthopedic research institute, and they partnered with schools in the valley to share their state-of-the-art facilities with two students from each high school in the valley. In the first semester of the school year, the students participate in mock case studies such as repairing a femur fracture, analyzing muscle recruitment during a repetitive motion, and isolating proteins in stem cells. They learn how to diagnose, treat, and practice post-surgery physical therapy. During the second semester, the students research any topic that captivates them. In the past, students from VMS that participated in the program have studied how to avoid Patellar tendon displacement. And muscle recruitment, specifically fast and slow twitch muscles to train endurance for sports. Students from VMS have created a supportive sock brace to prevent shin splints, and they have also researched how muscular imbalances in the leg lead to injuries. These are just some of the fantastic things students have researched and created in this unique program offered by the Steadman Philippon Research Institute. This year, the two VMS students selected to participate in this program are Henry Pratt and Alexi Sege, both in their junior year of high school.

Henry Pratt stated that he chose to be a part of the SPRI program because he felt that it’s one of the better ways to involve Science outside of the classroom, in addition to the fact that sports medicine, although he has never done any work with it, seemed like an exciting field to study. Even if he doesn’t find it one of his passions, Henry said it would still be worth a shot to try SPRI out just in case it sparked something for him. Also, using very specialized and high-tech equipment was very intriguing to him. Henry Pratt and other upperclassmen learned about this opportunity through an email sent by Mr. Sappenfield, the Science Department Chair and an upper school Science teacher. Right after receiving the email, Henry was fascinated by the program and applied for it by writing an essay on why he wanted to be a part of it. When asked why he enjoys Science, Henry said, “Science has always been one of my favourite subjects. Not only are there so many scientific fields to study, but the subject has a linear approach, and problems can easily be solved and understood when the proper knowledge is applied; it’s like a puzzle. I also enjoy learning about how things work, and out of this program, I hope to gain further answers about what I want to dedicate my time and efforts towards after high school and if that could potentially involve sports medicine”. Henry wants to have fun, enjoy his time learning, and explore what interests him, and the SPRI Program is perfect for him and people who want to do the same.