A Push to Innovation
By Ruth Augustin '15
Published On Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Albert Einstein once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
This is something that Keri Kolettis ‘95 reminds herself constantly. She graduated from Lynn University with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science. Afterward, she attended Nova Southeastern University to become an orthopedic physician’s assistant. She never thought that she would eventually be teaching students. Keri taught fifth grade science for three years.
“I am now an innovation specialist and a STEM academic advisor at Pine Crest School,” said Keri. “I am also an expert in life science and biomedical engineering. My studies included fixing orthopedic injuries and spines with rods and screws − that’s the kind of stuff I know.” Through Dr. Dana Markham, Pine Crest School’s president, Keri was asked to be a part of a collaborative team of Pine Crest teachers and educational design professionals to incorporate real-world problem solving lessons into the already robust science curriculum. Dr. Markham’s vision for innovation and discovery led to the development of the Zimmerman Family Innovation and Technology Institute at Pine Crest School, building three innovation labs (iLabs) within four months.
“We brought students to competitions to compete in real life challenges,” she said. She helps coach her students through her background in life science. “I am so thankful that I have that science background because I see things differently in the classroom through my medical experiences.” Currently, the students are taking part in The Verizon Innovative App Challenge. “These kids would blow you away – this is their sport,” said Keri, who oversees the research the students are taking part in. Keri said, “We have an Upper School football team composed of 48 players. During the 2015 season, they played 11 games. Of those 11 games, there were 10 documented concussions.”
These students’ research found a 0.91 percent chance of sustaining a concussion during any given football game and a 20 percent chance of sustaining a concussion during the regular 2015 football season.The students are working with a prototype for a Force Transmission Data Collectorthat has eight sensors embedded into the shell of a helmet. They were able to discover how to connect the sensors from the helmet to a microcomputer to relay real-time force information. Once they received the data from the helmet, they had to work alongside a computer programmer to learn how to wirelessly transmit to a personal computer. “We had neurosurgeons contacting us saying that they wanted to work with these kids. These students are competitors and scientists. This competitive experience has reinforced what I’ve been telling them all along; you can do anything. The students have won $5,000 and tablets from Verizon to continue their research. I am extremely proud of these kids especially since we were up against 1,200 concept submissions. They want to continue on,” Keri said.
The next step for these students is regionals where they will have an interview webinar with the judges of this challenge. If they are successful throughout all of this, they will eventually be working with MIT to develop their app. “This is my passion; this is my calling and my job is to help children embrace the field of science – these are the jobs of the future,” said Keri. What these students are creating can help coaches and training staff decide whether or not to keep a player in the game, while helping players who may have a traumatic brain injury. To help this team, send in your votes: TEXT FTDC2 to 22333 help these students make a difference in the lives of athletes. The contest ends on Sunday, January 31, 2016. As we were on the phone Keri and her team found out they were the best in region. The Office of Development and Alumni Affairs is extremely proud of Keri’s continued success and are hoping for the best! Let’s help get this team to nationals!
(Pictured below are the students of Keri Kolettis)