Tulane study: role models help girls in science

Studies have long shown that girls are less likely than boys to be interested in math and science, but new research by Tulane University researchers published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that matching girls with female role models could "dramatically" reverse that trend.

The study is titled “Improving Girls’ Sense of Fit in Science: Increasing the Impact of Role Models." Led by Laurie O’Brien, an associate professor of psychology at Tulane, it was conducted during a science outreach event where middle-school girls were exposed to multiple female role models.

At the end of the event, participants were randomly assigned to choose and write about a favorite role model or workshop leader, while a control group was asked to write about their best friend.

Girls who wrote about their favorite workshop leaders were more likely to say they belonged in science than were the girls in the control group.

According to O’Brien, writing about a favorite role model encouraged girls to think more in depth about both the role models and science.

“ ‘Sense of fit’ in science refers to a person’s overall sense that they belong in and can succeed in science,” O’Brien said. “Past research has demonstrated that ... it affects students’ grades and career decisions.”

The event was part of the Girls in STEM program at Tulane, where the girls participated in workshops such as “Creative Computation,” “The Science of Bread” and “Tissue Engineering.”

Created by Donata Henry, a senior professor of practice in ecology and evolutionary biology, the annual program gives middle-school girls the opportunity to spend a day working with female scientists and female students in the School of Science and Engineering.

Actor Daryl Mitchell to speak at UNO

Actor and disability advocate Daryl “Chill” Mitchell will serve as the principal speaker at the University of New Orleans’ fall commencement ceremony Dec. 16 in the Lakefront Arena.

A veteran of more than 40 movies and television shows, Mitchell is a regular cast member on the popular CBS crime drama “NCIS: New Orleans.”

“We are so excited to have Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell as our graduation speaker,” UNO President John Nicklow said. “I am confident that his message of perseverance and triumph over adversity will resonate with our graduates.”

Mitchell has appeared in TV shows including “The John Larroquette Show,” “Law & Order,” “Ed” and “Desperate Housewives” as well as films including “House Party,” “Sgt. Bilko,” “Galaxy Quest” and “10 Things I Hate About You.”

Since 2014 he has played the role of computer specialist Patton Plame on “NCIS: New Orleans,” which has its production headquarters at UNO’s Nims Center in Elmwood.

In 2001, Mitchell was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident. He continued his acting career and started the Daryl Mitchell Foundation to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries.

He serves as the minority outreach spokesperson for the Christopher Reeve Foundation and has become a vocal advocate for employing actors with disabilities. He is also a 2010 recipient of an NAACP Image Award.

Mitchell has lectured at nearly 50 colleges and universities.

LSU team finds way to ID intestinal bleeding

A team of physicians at LSU Health New Orleans has found that endoscopy combined with the administration of antiplatelet or anticoagulant agents is a safe and effective technique for identifying hidden sources of gastrointestinal bleeding, school officials said.

The work was published online in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and reviewed in the New England Journal of Medicine Journal Watch.

“This is the first case series to evaluate the benefit and safety of provocative testing combined with endoscopy to be reported in the literature,” said Dr. Daniel Raines, chief of the Section of Gastroenterology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and lead author of the paper.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, GI bleeding results in more than 500,000 hospitalizations each year. In some cases, the source cannot be identified, leading to repeated transfusions, repeated hospitalizations and sometimes death.

The LSU Health New Orleans team developed a novel technique to find the leak: giving the patients blood thinners to stimulate or provoke bleeding before endoscopy because some sources are only visible when actively bleeding.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.