A diagnosis of diabetes inspires a career in healthcare
When she was 12, Chelcie Weber was diagnosed with type 1
diabetes. Now 22, she's finishing her university degree in nursing.
Watch as she tells her story
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys a body's ability to make insulin, a naturally occurring hormone that enables cells to extract glucose from the blood for energy. It's an incurable condition, but it can be managed.
The inaugural STEM Behind Health TI-Nspire™ activity, Type 1 Diabetes: Managing a Critical Ratio, introduces students to the science and math of the disease management, which is, for Chelcie and all T1 diabetics, a matter of life and death.
Through the activity, students gain understanding of a critical ratio — how many units of insulin Chelcie must use after a meal or snack to balance the grams of carbohydrates in the food.
Each simulation starts with a “pin prick” blood test, which reveals another critical ratio: Chelcie’s blood sugar level. As that level fluctuates after eating, students must administer the right number of insulin units to keep it in the healthy range.
The activity also gives students a look at the cause of diabetes, its treatment, Sanford Health’s ongoing efforts to find a cure, and the fundamental concepts of ratios and proportions, which are critical to developing fluency and reasoning skills.
This first-of-its-kind lesson provides math and science educators with interactive simulations that promote essential concepts and practices, including:
The Sanford Project, Sanford Research
Director of Clinical Trials and Scientist
Kurt Griffin grew up the son of a biology teacher, used a real microscope at home and dissected lambs’ hearts in school — experiences that got him thinking early on about a career in medicine.
Now the director of clinical research at The Sanford Project, Dr. Griffin is working with Texas Instruments to inspire students to think about careers that are dedicated to healing diseases, providing hope for cures and researching treatments that support wellbeing.
While many careers in clinical research require advanced professional degrees, positions for students with STEM educations range from laboratory technician, research coordinator, project manager and regulatory compliance expert to statistician and finance manager.
STEM Behind Health activities are designed to put students on paths to those careers by providing relevant, meaningful contexts for asking questions, analyzing and interpreting data, using math and computational thinking and constructing explanations.
Sanford School of Medicine / University of South Dakota
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
American Board of Pediatrics (General Pediatrics)
American Board of Pediatrics (Pediatric Endocrinology)