Philadelphia Bus Tour Kicks Off 2017 Penn-LDI Undergraduate Minority Research Program
Scholars from Thirteen Schools Begin Summer Orientation During LDI's 50th Anniversary Year
Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics’ Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) program of 2017 kicked off its first week of orientation during LDI’s 50th Anniversary Year with a bus tour of Philadelphia historic and cultural sites. Above, members of that SUMR cohort and Wharton’s Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) gather on the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. The three-month long SUMR program is aimed at undergraduates interested in exploring potential careers in the field of health services research (HSR). It immerses students in an intense curriculum and pairs each with a Penn faculty member in an ongoing HSR research project. This year’s SUMR scholars come from Penn and twelve other schools including Vanderbilt, Penn State, Southern Cal and Cornell.
The day kicks off at a campus SEPTA subway station (above, left) and a trip to the Independence National Historic Park area to begin an open-top bus tour of the city’s historical sites. Above, right, SUMR scholars take up most of the seats. The bus tour is one of a number of social outings and off-campus professional events that are a part of the overall SUMR program.
The bus tour wound its way through the oldest parts of the city. Above, left, it passed the Betsy Ross House, a site that celebrates the folklore story of a seamstress who purportedly designed and sewed the first U.S. flag. A short distance away was Chinatown and the spectacular gate at 10th and Arch Streets constructed in 1984 by teams of engineers and artisans from China’s Beijing Ancient Architecture Construction Corporation. The green dragon sculpture is one of four in the neighborhood.
A musical and gastronomical landmark in center city, the Hard Rock Cafe (above, left) is something of an ear-splitting cross between a Rock & Roll museum and restaurant. Eastern State Penitentiary (above, right) is a 188-year-old fortress-like prison that was decommissioned in 1971 and for the last twenty years has annually attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors for tours of its creepy, crumbling interior.
Leading the scholars group up the “Rocky” steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (above, left) is LDI Deputy Director Joanne Levy who is also Founding Director of the SUMR program which she founded in 2000. Above, right, the scholars group crosses the Museum’s grand eastern plaza to enter the front door. With its vast set of interior collections and exterior plazas that serve as major entertainment venues throughout the year, the facility is a major hub of Philadelphia cultural life.
The museum sits astride the picturesque Schuylkill River on the city’s highest point of land and is so visually spectacular inside and out, it’s actually worth visiting for no other reason than to experience the architecture. Above, left, a stream of light from the front doors highlights the central staircase which is topped by the golden archer sculpture, “Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt.”
In one gallery (above, left) are scholars (l to r) Mara Abera of Penn, Mariah Ramirez of Vanderbilt, and Monica Delgado of the University of Minnesota. They stand between “Vase With Twelve Sunflowers” painted by Vincent van Gogh’ in 1889 and “Still Life with a Dessert,” a 1877 work by Paul Cézanne. Above, right, Penn’s Helen Fetaw stands near “The Spanish Woman,” an 1855 work by Gustave Courbet.
In another gallery (above, left), Penn scholars (l to r) Tolulpe Adebayo, Theodore Caputi, Jimmy Gao and Tyler Knox explore a 15th century “reliquary” or death shrine sculpture of the 6th century christian saint Benedict of Nursia, Italy. Above, right, enjoying their first encounter with equestrian armor are scholars Eashan Kumar of Penn, Mariah Ramirez, Arrix Ryce of the University of Miami, Liqhwa Ncube of Penn, Monica Delgado of the University of Minnesota, and Mara Abera of Penn. The horse armor was made for a 16th century German Duke.
In past years after leaving the Art Museum tour (above, left), the annual SUMR group normally assembled at the Rocky Statue at the bottom of the main museum stairway for a group portrait. However, (above, right) this year the two-ton, ten-foot high Hollywood icon was fenced off from public access while its area undergoes maintenance and structural improvements.
The last stop on the scholars’ tour was Pizzeria Stella (above, left) in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood. The place is famed for its wood-fired, thin-crust pies. With empty plates proving that to be true (above, right) are (l to r) Joanne Levy, Safa Browne, Mara Abera, Helen Fetaw, William Okrafo-Smart, Caleb Diaz, Karolina Niedzwiadek, Arantza Rodriguez, Liqhwa Ncube, Lucy Ufio, and Evanie Anglade.