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2021 Spring/Summer Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Cancer
  • School
  • Research
  • Education
  • Philanthropy
  • Scientific
  • Vai
  • Institute
  • Rapids
  • Institute
  • Hope
  • Michigan
  • Scientists
  • Virtual
The 2021 Spring/Summer edition of Van Andel Institute's Highlights of Hope donor publication.


VAI PURPLE COMMUNITY Virtual Leadership Conferences offer on-demand science, fun for students When the pandemic forced in-person events to go virtual, Van Andel Institute’s Student Leadership Conference rose to the challenge to adapt. The free program, which invites classrooms to visit the Institute for a day of touring VAI facilities and conducting fun experiments in our educational labs, could not continue on as it had. So, the Institute pivoted quickly and introduced a new format. The Virtual Leadership Conference program is built for the Zoom era and follows a similar playbook as the Student Leadership Conference. Whereas the Student Leadership Conference had been held on set days during the school year, the Virtual Leadership Conference is completely on-demand — when teachers want to schedule a time, VAI is there to help. “The pandemic disrupted normal classroom routines across the board, and we wanted to do something to help,” said McKenzie Hollern, VAI event coordinator. “We are thrilled that the shift to this format gives teachers the option to schedule a virtual field trip at a time that works best for them.” “The pandemic disrupted normal classroom routines across the board, and we wanted to do something to help.” — McKenzie Hollern By adding the at-home experiment component, the Virtual Leadership Conference turned what would have been just another video call into a handson science lesson that keeps students curious, engaged and enjoying themselves. The conference is a great way for students to learn more about the Institute, hear directly from VAI scientists about their research and — perhaps best of all — enjoy entertaining science experiments from the comfort of home. With support from a variety of sources, including donors, VAI provides plans for teachers to help students conduct the experiments, and instructional specialists from Van Andel Institute for Education walk participants through the steps during the conferences. To learn more about the Virtual Leadership Conferences and to register, visit STUDENTS AT ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE PARTICIPATE IN VAI’S VIRTUAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 14 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge goes virtual The 7th annual Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge was unable to fully take place on its namesake downtown Grand Rapids landmark due to the pandemic, but that didn’t stop dedicated and determined Van Andel Institute supporters from meeting up to sweat it out online. Participants took to Zoom for an evening of exercise to support the Institute’s research into diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s, and our K–12 and graduate education programs. The event was led by Pure Barre Grand Rapids’ Kiersten Kemp, who was on the Blue Bridge to give participants a chance to take in the views from the comfort of home. Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge was sponsored in 2020 by Pure Barre Grand Rapids, Lolë, Trusted Rides and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Bee Brave beats pandemic odds to support VAI Organizers of the annual Bee Brave 5K overcame obstacles created by the pandemic to host a fun, safe event in October. The race, held every fall at Shagbark Farm in Caledonia, Michigan, directly benefits Van Andel Institute’s breast cancer research. The race raised more than ,000 for 2020, and this year’s event will be held Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. PURE BARRE ON THE BLUE BRIDGE FILMING AHEAD OF TIME IN ORDER TO SAFELY BRING THE EXPERIENCE RIGHT INTO ATTENDEES’ HOMES VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 15

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