Last night was the world premiere of OSA: Sisters In Science, a documentary detailing the Oncofertility Saturday Academy. This documentary told the story of what happens when young women from a small South side Chicago high school gets introduced to an emerging science like Oncofertility. The film documented the hands-on experiences, classes, and testimonies of the young women of Young Women’s Leadership Charter School as they spent their Saturdays interacting with the Woodruff lab and other resources from Northwestern in 2009.
A very personal story was told about how these high school students, intrepidly took on challenging experiments dissecting mice, ovaries in the uterus, isolating follicles, embedding them in alginate, measuring hormones, fertilizing real mouse eggs, and spending exclusive time on the Da Vinci Surgical Robot.
Most importantly, the documentary chronicled the evolution of the OSA students, from passionate young women in high school waiting to be sparked by inspiration, to JOSAS (Junior OSA Sisters) to SOSAS (Senior OSA Sisters). It also told the story of these young women’s families and the role this experience had in reaffirming a relationship of empowerment through education. It was clear that every parent thought their child capable of any achievement, and OSA gave that potential a shape and form that many parents can’t imagine.
Directors of the program, Megan Faurot and Teresa Woodruff held a panel along with the film’s creators; producer Harlan Wallach, director Stefani Foster, and the film’s editor Erin Kitzinger. The panel was a source of reflection and enthusiasm for the whole audience, including OSA alumni, POSA (Parents in OSA), as well as attendees of the Oncofertility Consortium’s on-going Annual Summit.
“This is a story of expanding horizons…you all have the potential to be the next generation of leaders, of teachers of scientists and creative thinkers. You have the opportunity to pass on to the next generation a world more vibrant, more creative and with more opportunity than the world you inherited.” –From Teresa Woodruff’s opening remarks.
The program is in its third year and is continuing strong.