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Students, Teachers, Volunteers and Community Leaders Honored for Creativity and Innovation

Philadelphia, PA – June 19, 2012 – Donning an official white lab coat and shaking hands with life sciences industry leaders were just some of the highlights at the Sixth Annual iFunction Reception and Awards Ceremony hosted by iPRAXIS, a non-profit organization advancing science learning for middle school students in Philadelphia. The event, held May 23 at Drexel University’s Creese Student Center, welcomed more than 200 guests.

Sponsored by Citizens Bank, iFunction recognized the recent achievements of students, teachers, volunteers and community partners. Students also received engraved medals and networked with Philadelphia leaders in science, education and business.

The evening began with a reception showcasing more than 40 student projects, with students on hand to proudly answer questions and provide details. “The Magnitude of Compression Waves,” “How does temperature affect a tornado’s size?” and “Comparing Nutrients in Leafy Greens Using Chromatography” were a few examples of entries that illustrated the amazing scientific work produced by iPRAXIS students.

Following the reception, a number of notable Philadelphians took to the podium. Opening remarks were made by Antoinette Torres, Drexel University; Kindra Sloan, The Science Center; John McNeil, President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Emilio Cooper, Executive Vice President and Retail Director for Citizens Bank; and Jeremiah J. White, Jr., Chair of iPRAXIS.

Dr. Frederic Bertley, Vice President for Innovation at The Franklin Institute, wowed the crowd with a riveting keynote address.

Community leaders continued to be called to the stage for various honors. Thermo Fisher Scientific was named Community Partner of the Year; Cancer Treatment Centers of America received the Corporate Leader in Science Education Award for their partnership with Northwood Academy Charter School.; and Dr. Jamie Bracey, Director of STEM Education, Outreach and Research at Temple University, was given tribute for her continued fight to increase the number of African-Americans in the science industry through programs such as the Math, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) initiative for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

By all accounts, the best part of the evening was watching the winners of this year’s schoolbased science fairs come to the stage to get fitted with an embroidered white lab coat and receive a special medal. A line of industry professionals, scientists and educators waited to shake their hands and congratulate them while families and friends in the audience cheered.

“This year was the best yet in terms of the number and quality of projects undertaken by our middle school students,” said iPRAXIS chairman Jeremiah J. White, Jr. “The enthusiasm of the parents was contagious. They saw their children complimented and encouraged to develop their talents and pursue scientific, engineering, and technology interests.”

White affirmed that the next generation of innovators was right there.

“We just need to lead them in the right direction.”

Parents gushed as well.

“I just wanted to thank you and tell you how nice the reception and awards ceremony were,” expressed Cheryl Dore, a parent of two iFunction honorees.

“The kids loved their lab coats and goodie bags,” she said, “Thank you for allowing CookWissahickon Elementary to be part of such a wonderful program!”

Dore also said the next day she saw son Matthew wearing his new lab coat while doing his homework, and the day after that spotted a student wearing his to school with his street clothes.

To learn more about iPRAXIS and how you or your company can get involved, please visit our website at or contact Program Director, Meagan Hopkins-Doerr at 215-966- 6253 or To learn how you can sponsor a student scientist, please contact Public Relations Coordinator, Zofia Wleklinski, at 215-966-6254 or

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Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing