SUMR15 Heads to Minneapolis for AcademyHealth Conference

SUMR Blog

SUMR15 Heads to Minneapolis for AcademyHealth Conference

Skyborne to a Health Service Research Experience
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[Click images for larger] An important part of immersing Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) scholars in the work of the health services research community is a trip to the annual 3-day AcademyHealth Research Meeting that brings together 3,000 researchers from across the country. Waiting to board their Minneapolis-bound Delta flight at Philadelphia International Airport (above, left) are SUMR scholars John Gehlback of Penn, Kelly McClure of Cornell and Adjoa Mante of Princeton. Also packed and ready are (above, right) SUMR scholars Omar Mansour of Macalester College, Mei-Lynn Hua of the University of Texas, Cristal Lopez of California State University, and Tobi Akindoju of Yale.
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Leading the group of 18 2015 scholars is SUMR Program Director Joanne Levy (above, left) who waits with SUMR scholar Rathnam Venkat of Penn. Above, right, in nearby terminal seats are SUMR scholars (l to r) Francisca Bermudez of Princeton, Sharonya Vadakattu of Penn, Anuvrat Jha of Ohio State University, and Tammy Jiang of Brown University.
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The first order of business for the SUMR group after checking into a hotel near the Minneapolis Convention Center was lunch. That happened at the Salsa a La Salsa Mexican Grill (above, left) where the group pretty much took over the dining room (above, right).
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In an afternoon outing, the SUMR students visited the sprawling arts area formed by the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the 88-year-old Walker Art Center, which is one of the country's most renowned collections of modern art. The icon of the Garden is the gigantic "Spoonbridge and Cherry" fountain (above, left) by Claes Oldenburg. The cherry's stem intermittently emits a broad spray of water that surprises -- and often soaks -- visitors. Above, right, scholars wander through the leafy entrance to the Sculpture Garden's Cowles Conservatory.
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One Conservatory gallery (above, left) features Frank Gehry's colossal "Standing Glass Fish." Above, right, taking a break in the shade on the warm afternoon are SUMR scholars Sharonya Vadakattu, Cristal Lopez and Francisca Bermudez.
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The day ended for the SUMR scholars with a trip to nearby Lake Minnetonka -- the name means "Big Water" in the language of the Native American Dakota tribe that was driven from the area in 1862 by whites who established the lakefront town of Excelsior (above, left). Today, Excelsior is a major tourist and recreation area offering sightseeing cruises along its 125 miles of shoreline. Above, right, is the "Paradise Destiny" cruise boat taken by the SUMR group.
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On board, lemonade, soft drinks, pizza and light snacks are available. Above, left, an epauletted crewman waits on the table of SUMR scholars Cristal Lopez and Kelly McClure. Above, right, the surrounding waters are packed with boaters and the shoreline is lined shoulder-to-shoulder with multi-million dollar mansions.
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The variety of boats visible across the lake is mind-boggling (above, left), ranging from small paddlewheelers, major-size power boats, sailing vessels, kayaks and canoes. But Minneapolis is one of the country's coldest cities and by late October, its lakes are covered with as much as 30 inches of ice, according to tour guides. Above, left, taking in the boat traffic all around them are SUMR scholars Francisca Bermudez, John Gehlbach, Cristal Lopez, Shanarra Turner of the University of Michigan, Kelly McClure and Tobi Akindoju.
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Enjoying a light dinner afloat is Sharonya Vadakattu, surrounded by other SUMR scholars. Out the window along the 11 mile-long lake is an always-changing panorama of islands, penninsulas, bays, boat houses and stunning architecture.
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On the stern (above, left) SUMR Scholar Enrique Torres Hernandez of St. Mary's University chats with Wharton Health Care Management PhD student Preethi Rao. Engaged in an animated discussion on the bow (above, right) are Nora Becker, a Wharton Health Care Management PhD student and LDI Digital Editor and photographer Hoag Levins. (Photo by Preethi Rao).