Penn LDI SUMR Scholars Take an AcademyHealth Break to See Seattle Sights

SUMR Blog

Penn LDI SUMR Scholars Take an AcademyHealth Break to See Seattle Sights

Photo-Page: Evening Cruise, Space Needle, Glass Museum and Historic Fish Market
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SEATTLE -- Despite its sixty mile distance from this port, Mount Rainier (above) looms over all in the twilight of those evenings when the clouds and mists thin out enough for it to be seen. And that's how the evening was for the University of Pennsylvania Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) scholars as they took a cruise around Elliott Bay that connects this city to Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean beyond. It was one of four local adventures -- the Cruise, the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum, and the Pike Place Fish Market -- that provided breaks from the sessions at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting that were the SUMR scholars' main reason for being here. Now in its nineteenth year and sponsored by LDI and the Wharton School Health Care Management Department, the three-month long SUMR program is aimed at underrepresented minority undergraduates and others interested in exploring potential careers in the field of health services research (HSR).
~ ~ ~ THE CRUISE ~ ~ ~
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Docked at a pier on Alaskan Way, the Spirit of Seattle (above, left) took Penn LDI SUMR scholars on a sunset cruise of Seattle's harbor and Elliott Bay. Both are ringed with panoramas of heavy commercial shipping activities as well as scenic views of the thickly forested Olympic Mountain range tumbling down toward the water in the distance. Above, right, SUMR scholars crowd the rail to view the gleaming skyline of Seattle's downtown.
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Besides Mount Rainier, Seattle's other cloud-piercing landmark is the Space Needle (above, left) which is part of the harbor skyline view. Above, right, LDI SUMR Scholar and camera buff Mohamed Abdirisak of Indiana University takes aim at the shoreline scene along with Justinna Dixon, a Rutgers Nursing School senior accompanying the SUMR cohort.
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Gathered for the unobstructed view from the stern of the boat (above, left) are LDI SUMR scholars Risha Sheni of Cornell, Tania Calle of Williams College, Audrey Fretzin of Penn and Alec Hilton of Washington University in St. Louis. Also on the stern (above, right) demonstrating their dance moves afloat are SUMR scholars Fatoumata Barry of Spelman College, Nahnsan Guseh of Syracuse University, William Jackson of the University of Kentucky and Christine Olagun-Samuel of Penn.
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Lined up across the stern (above, left) are SUMR scholars Grace Nie of Penn, Audrey Fretzin, Eric Shan of Penn, Tania Calle, Alec Hilton, Mohamed Abdirisak, Risha Sheni, Manuel Alcala of Penn, William Jackson, Justinna Dixon, Janiece Strange of Morgan State University, Zara Wermers of Tufts University, Fatoumata Barry, Christine Olagun-Samuel, Miriam Olujide of Penn's Perelman Medical School, Nahnsan Guseh and Tim Wang of Penn's Dental School.
~ ~ ~ THE SPACE NEEDLE ~ ~ ~
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Seattle's 56-year-old Space Needle, built at the dawn of the space age in 1962, is more than 60 stories high and now surrounded by a broad park of sculpture gardens, fountains, museums, eateries and other recreational venus. Above, left (inset), the SUMR scholars walk through a massive piece of art toward the Needle. Above, right, near another burst of sculptures at the Needle's base, are 2017 Wharton graduate Danielle Martinez-McCormack, LDI Policy Coordinator Puja Upadhyay and LDI Project Manager Megan McCarthy-Alfano.
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Moving up the circular entrance ramp inside the Needle (above, left), the SUMR scholars group perused the photos and read the stories of the unique structure's construction. After an elevator ride to the flying-saucer-like top of the needle, Wharton PhD student and LDI Associate Fellow Benjamin Chartock (above, right) takes in the view through four-inch thick glass walls.
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Cameras at the ready (above, left), SUMR Scholars Zara Wermers and Ayomide Ojebuoboh of Boston University snap pictures of the breathtaking vistas visible from any point around the 360-degree outer walkway of the observation tower. Above, right, taking a break on a glass bench are SUMR Scholars Mohamed Abdirisak, Alec Hilton, Chidinma Wilson of Oakwood University, Christine Olagun-Samuel, and Francesco DeMayo of Penn.
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Providing a vivid sense of the scale and breadth of the view from the observation tower's wrap-around glass walls are Francesco DeMayo and Tim Wang who get as close to the edge as possible.
~ ~ ~ CHIHULY GARDEN & GLASS MUSEUM ~ ~ ~
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Aside from becoming a sculptor of world renown over the last half-century, Dale Chihuly is also largely responsible for making the Seattle/Tacoma area the current epicenter of American glass art. Born in Tacoma where he first encountered glass blowing at the age of 20, Chihuly later earned a Master of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. He went on to live and study with the glass masters on the Venetian island of Murano where glassmaking first evolved into a high art in medieval times. Similar to Claes Oldenburg in steel, Chihuly's specialty is massive artistic constructions in glass. Six years ago, he opened an arboretum and museum at the foot of the Seattle Space Needle. A visit to that Dale Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum can be a surreal experience in landscapes that include lush growths of real plants mixed with glass sculptures resembling nothing so much as the crystalline flora of an alien planet. Wandering the paths (above, left) are University of Pennsylvania students and LDI SUMR Scholars Joanna Ferguson of the Penn Dental School; Grace Nie of the Penn School of Nursing and Wharton; Christine Olagun-Samuel of Penn School of Arts and Sciences; Audrey Fretzin of Penn Nursing and Wharton; Manuel Alcala of Penn's School of Arts and Sciences; and Eric Shan of the Wharton School. Above, right, the museum exhibits Chihuly's illuminated "glassscapes" in darkened galleries like this one.
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LDI SUMR Scholars Amanda Carrillo-Perez of Swarthmore College, Zara Wermers, Risha Sheni, Tania Calle (above, left) and Ayomide Ojebuoboh explore Chihuly's garden glass house hung with gigantic blown-glass flowers. Looking up through the glass roof (above, right) they can see the observation deck of the Space Needle directly above them.
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The Chihuly museum's "Sea Life Room" has a central two-story high construction (above, left) of what look like writhing blue tentacles (above, right) of glass studded with yellow and green smaller elements suggestive of starfish, urchins and mollusk-like creatures.
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One of the Chihuly's most prolific forms (above, left) is the richly colored "Macchia bowl," a term derived from the Italian word for "spotted" or "stained," as well as the name of an ethereal form of medieval Venetian painting. The transluscent bowls are made to glow by lights above or below. Above, right, inspired by Japanese fishing floats, another gallery exhibit includes a rowboat filled with wildly colored glass balls, all set on a mirrored platform.
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The museum's galleries tend to create a feeling of sensory overload but an accompanying frenzied need to photograph it all. Above, right, LDI's Emily Shields photographs a family group in the outside gardens where a three-story high yellow tree as well as much of the surrounding undergrowth are actually made of blown glass.
~ ~ ~ PIKE PLACE FISH MARKET ~ ~ ~
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Clinging to the face of a steep cliff at the edge of Seattle's waterfront and maintaining its century-old traditions as a stall market for farmers and fisherman, Pike Place Market is the city's most heavily trafficked tourist attraction. It's also famous for its fish vendors (above, left), especially the Pike Place Fish stall whose employees regularly throw large fish back and forth (above, right - see fish going airborne).
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In a group, three dozen SUMR Scholars, LDI staffers and other Penn friends went to the Pike Place Market for a late lunch and a bout of touristy exploration (above, left). Nearby Wharton Health Care Management PhD student Jong Lim stumbled upon one of the area's weirdest landmarks -- the "gum wall" (above, right). The 15-foot-high red brick walls of a block-long, tunnel-like alley through a level of the Pike Place Market are completely covered with blobs of chewing gum. Some of them are smeared or pulled into crude works of art; all of them are permeated with the microbial residue of tens of thousands of visitors' mouths.
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After lunch, the SUMR scholars converged on the main entrance of Pike Place Market to pay homage to Rachel the bronze pig, the market's mascot and a premier Seattle photo op location. The 550 pound sculpture actually IS a piggy bank collecting money for market-sponsored social service campaigns. Riding Rachel is SUMR program Director Joanne Levy surrounded by her laughing protégés.