Dr. Van Cauter Talks Sleep, Health and Wellness as Pritzker Lecturer

Parker welcomed Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago and Director of the Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center Dr. Eve Van Cauter as the 12th Annual Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence for a full day of educational enrichment.

Dr. Van Cauter began her day at Parker by meeting with a special Morning Ex presentation for grades 1 through 5. During this talk, she distilled her advanced knowledge and information to explain the value and importance of sleep. For example, these students were enthralled by her descriptions of the sleep patterns of some members of the animal kingdom and listened attentively as she explained in detail why sleep is so important and vital.

After these young minds, Dr. Van Cauter talked to older students. She sat down for an interview with the Weekly, had lunch with members of Parker’s faculty and staff, met with Upper School science teachers Bridget Lesinksi and Kara Schupp’s Biology and Advanced Topics in Biology courses in the Harris Center and ended her day by meeting with Lesinki’s Psychology course.

After a packed day at Parker, Dr. Van Cauter spoke to a crowd of eager listeners at her nighttime lecture about an increasingly prevalent 21st century problem: insufficient, poor or mistimed sleep. She began by providing important general information on sleep before she talked more specifically about her research and the role sleep plays in physical, cognitive and emotional development, highlighting how this plays out at the various ages of Parker students. She finished her presentation by commenting on the connections between sleep disturbance and obesity and between sleep disturbances and various diseases.

Parker is very fortunate and grateful to the Pritzker family for providing these enriching educational experiences with thought leaders from around the nation. By interacting firsthand with these scientists, inventors and engineers, students see how the concepts they are learning in class are incorporated and handled in the real world.

Click here for photos from this visit.

The Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence program was created by a gift to Parker in honor of engineer, industrialist and philanthropist Robert A. Pritzker ’44. This program aims to expand science education opportunities at Parker and foster an ongoing dialogue among students and teachers about current issues in science. Previous speakers include Dr. Leon M. Lederman, Dr. Paul Sereno, Dr. Russell Mittermeier and Christina Mittermeier, Dr. Edward “Rocky” Kolb, Dr. Ka Yee Lee, Dr. Don Hillebrand, Dr. Matthew Tirrell, Dr. Elizabeth Gerber, Dr. Sian Beilock, Dr. Wendy Freedman and Dr. Rick Stevens.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.