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High school senior Megha Desai creates anatomy cart for museum

Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen Email Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen
February 2017
High school senior Megha Desai creates anatomy cart for museum

Through the Fernbank Ultimate Naturalist program (FUN) program, youth ages 13-17 have the opportunity to be directly involved in public events and education at the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, GA. Alpharetta High School senior Megha Desai was accepted to the program before her freshman year and has helped run discovery carts and other educational programming in the museum to provide information about biology, nanotechnology, paleontology, astronomy, and other scientific fields.

This past spring, Megha decided to create a whole new cart topic on her own, something no past FUN volunteer had done before. Her new cart and activities are focused on teaching elementary school students about the anatomy and human body systems. Megha worked on her project from early summer to October, when the cart was officially launched.

Megha created a manual explaining concepts in a way that is appealing for younger students. She also developed eight hands-on activities, including a sensory box representing blood composition, a Velcro puzzle for piecing together a “brain,” and a tape measure mapping tool for understanding the length of the digestive system. She obtained medical supplies and anatomical models from doctors and purchased a lung model apparatus and skeleton, thanks to a modest budget.

Ms. Jamie Duran, Megha’s Honors Anatomy teacher, says, “Megha strived to make sure the educational anatomy tools are accurate and fun. That skeleton is quite anatomically correct and I really like the ribbon with the lengths of the digestive organs on it. That is great for kids to see. I’m so honored that my class inspired Megha to create educational anatomy tools for the Fernbank Museum. I’m proud of her for doing such an amazing job and for representing our school in such a positive way.”

Kaden Borseth, Director of Teen and Family Programs at the Museum, says, “Megha’s anatomy cart is a great addition …, providing an opportunity for volunteers to learn about anatomy and teach guests of all ages [through the] interactive activities.”

Megha trained other FUN program members so that the program can continue after she graduates. She has also been active on the FUN Leadership Committee, whose members are expected to demonstrate exceptional behavior, mentor other volunteers, and provide feedback to the program for further improvement. Having served over 250 hours, Megha is a strong presence at Fernbank. She hopes that her project continues to spread her passion for science and service to the metro Atlanta community.

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