Many kids may say they want to be a doctor or nurse when they grow up, but they don’t always have the opportunity to explore their interest. Thanks to the “Called to Academic & Leadership Excellence and Building character and confidence” science Club, local children from 5th grade through high school get to learn about medicine firsthand at the MU School of Medicine.
“The club is a great way to help open doors for some of the kids we work with,” said Brittney Marshall, a fourth-year medical student and integrated Family and Community medicine resident. “These kids are getting the chance to learn cool things I wish I’d had the opportunity to do at their age.”
CALEB was founded and continues to be overseen by Granny’s House, a charitable non-profit organization in Columbia that has been providing space for children in the Columbia community to spend supervised time after school for nearly 30 years.
The founder, Pamela Ingram, and her husband, Ellis Ingram, MD, created CALEB Science Club so that creative young minds can engage in learning, leadership, and development while learning more about science and healthcare. Ingram attended the MU School of Medicine for pathology residency and spent his medical career there until retiring in 2013.
“One of Dr. Ingram’s beliefs is that knowledge and education are power and create opportunities in life,” said Marshall. “The club makes science fun and interesting but also allows kids to learn about the medical field and see if it sparks passion for them.”
Marshall started volunteering with Granny’s House while still an undergraduate biology major at the University of Missouri. Once accepted into the MU School of Medicine, she applied to be a program liaison and has continued in that role for three years.
“I love the program,” said Marshall. “There have been a few high school students in the club that I’ve gotten to see go on to study engineering or go to nursing school.”
Josiah Simmons, now 14 years old, started attending CALEB with his sister in 5th grade. Even though he isn’t interested in pursuing a career in medicine, he likes learning about science firsthand at the CALEB meeting.
“I liked learning to suture and I was pretty good because I’ve been making stuffed animals since I was 10 years old,” he said.
The club is free to anyone who would like to register their children and interested club members can also be connected with a medical student mentor, an enriching experience for both students and the physicians in training.