Newark Board of Education Held a White Coat Ceremony for Students Inducted into the PLTW Medical Detectives Program


Earlier this month, Mount Vernon Elementary School held a White Coat Ceremony to induct eight new students into their Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Medical Detectives Program.  The eight new inductees were welcomed into the program by an elite group of students from Cohort 1, who received their white lab coats February 10, 2022.

The White Coat Ceremony is a rites of passage initiative designed to inspire middle school students to pursue STEM career paths. The vision of the White Coat Ceremony was uniquely designed for the six South-West PLTW schools under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Samantha Lott-Velez who said “Our schools will continue to put programs in place that give our students opportunity to engage in experiences that nurture their interests and expose them to career paths.”

PLTW programs are currently in Peshine Avenue, Lincoln, Chancellor Avenue, Avon Avenue, Ivy Hill, and Mount Vernon Elementary Schools. To date, there have been 143 participants across these six schools. Superintendent León stated “The district’s investment in PLTW at the middle school level is a long-term investment that will yield great returns in the future.” In all programs, “...students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose diseases. They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, examine nervous system structure and function, and investigate disease outbreaks,” he added.

As students received the lab coat and pin, Principal Camille Findley-Browne remarked how incredibly proud she is of all of the students that have persevered through this rigorous college-preparatory program.  And Director of Science Kathleen Tierney praised the PLTW teacher saying, “Mr. Shane Brown could not have been a better choice.  He has done a great job in retaining the largest number of students in this inaugural program for students interested in STEM.”

Students were inspired by special guest, Dr. Roger Mitchell, Jr., who became the youngest Chief Medical Examiner in the country in 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.   Dr. Mitchell shared his personal and professional journey with students.  A proud graduate of Howard University and New Jersey Medical School, Dr. Mitchell encouraged the students to “dream big”...”have determination”...”be dedicated”...and understand “...delayed gratification.” He also told students that he looked forward to seeing Newark’s PLTW students as colleagues in the future.