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Waynesboro middle-schoolers sample college life

May 17, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

MONT ALTO, Pa. -- Waynesboro Area Middle School seventh-graders are swapping their regular classrooms this week for the ones at Penn State Mont Alto, where they are learning about things like physical therapy, the human body and physics.

They're also getting a taste of college life by eating in the campus cafe and touring the dorms.

"It's awesome," Jared Weisbrod said of the experience.

The annual field trips are sponsored by the Waynesboro Area Business, Education and Community Foundation. All seventh-graders will be given an opportunity to participate Monday through Wednesday.

A.J. Sprenkle, 13, experienced how an electric-stimulation machine can move muscles in someone's arm. He described the sensation as "kind of weird."

Andrew Miller, 13, worked with the school's iStan mannequin that "blinks" and "breathes" using a computer. That class also taught how to monitor basic body functions.

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"You check your pulse, blood pressure and heartbeat," he said.

IStan's technology impressed 12-year-old Maggie Litzinger.

"I thought it was really, really cool," she said.

Jared's tour guide shared the legend of hauntings in the school's coffeehouse and mentioned the Nintendo Wii in the dormitory lobby.

"We saw everything from the cafeteria to the library and the dorms," said Jared, 12.

Emily Egolf's aunt works in physical therapy, so Emily was able to learn more about what she does. That field appeals to her as a possible future occupation.

"I want to help people and be with people," said Emily, 12.

Professor Renee Borromeo described people skills as an important qualification for physical therapists and their assistants.

"There are a lot of jobs available in physical therapy," she told the children.

In addition to the electric-stimulation machine, Borromeo allowed students to explore wheelchairs and crutches, models of bones and equipment like balance balls.

"It's neat to learn how these things can make someone stronger," Emily said.

Maggie said she appreciated the classes and hands-on labs.

"It shows you a lot of opportunities you can do," she said.

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