2021-2022 Alumni ROCS Awarded Projects
2021 Microbial Diversity Alumni
Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Rutgers University-Newark
The Ant Room
Dr. Lily Khadempour is creating an Ant Room, where colonies of different charismatic species of ants are maintained, partially to be used for experimentation, but mostly to be used as a community outreach site. The design and building of The Ant Room is being done in collaboration with two seniors from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) that are working with her to complete their capstone projects for their course in Industrial Design. Miranda Austin is designing ant colony enclosures for the ants and Kajal Ramrup who is designing interactive educational models/toys to teach kids about symbiosis. The Khadempour Lab and NJIT are located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, one of the most diverse cities in the country. This prime location allows The Ant Room to host local school groups and other members of the public to come view our ants and learn about symbiosis. This would also give an opportunity to showcase the work that Dr. Khadempour did as a student at MBL, studying the honeypot ant microbiome.
2021 Physiology Alumni
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program (BCMB)
Reaching Underserved Youth in Baltimore through STEM
Brady Goulden’s Alumni ROCS project encompasses outreach in the Baltimore community by providing students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to have hands on science experiences.
Brady has achieved this by participating with John’s Hopkins outreach group Students in Action. (SIA). With Students in Action, Brady has coordinated 30 – 40 volunteers in 5 classrooms (150 students) in title 1 Baltimore Public Schools to inspire youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education in STEM, or at the minimum, create interest and creativity in solving complex problems with science! To accomplish this, the outreach group has created fun and enriching science lessons thanks to the funding provided by the MBL’s Alumni ROCs, our group has been able to purchase more expensive equipment and supplies for lessons and science experiments. The SIA group no longer needs to be limited by inadequate funding, allowing us to achieve our mission and inspire youth in all facets of STEM
2021 Microbial Diversity Alumni
Graduate Student at CalTech, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Finding the Beauty in Microbial Diversity
In Elliott Mueller’s project entitled “Finding Beauty in Microbial Diversity” he collaborated GO-Outdoors and the Pasadena School District on a month-long educational program on environmental microbiology. The largest barrier to pro- viding these programs to local classrooms is funding for transportation, equipment, and food. The collaboration led to a pilot program centered around environmental microbiology with a focus on sustainable and collaborative community outreach.
In March Elliott and Go-Outdoors took Biology students from the John Muir High School to the local San Gabrielino trail. During the outdoor experience student participated in the Field Based Lesson including, Field Microscopy, Agar Plate Inoculation, and Winogradsky Column Sample Collection. In the in-classroom experiments Elliott’s group worked with student on Agar Plate and Winogradsky column observations, they will also return in May to continue experiments with the Winogradsky columns when they have bloomed. Already the teacher they worked with has requested that to run this program next year and for more classrooms. Through the John Muir High School, we were also able to make connections with other under-resourced schools in the district.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale School of Medicine
Learn by Doing: Visualizing Embryos and Building Microscopes with High Schools
Dr. Alice Sherrard is propelling her MBL Advanced Research Training experience and knowledge through outreach to local underserved high schoolers through virtual and in person STEAM activities in microcopy and embryo development. This hands-on learning has two components: 1) an virtual and in-person event in a New Haven, CT high school, where the project team leaders interactively teach students about embryology and microscopy through building their own microscope, and 2) preparing a gallery of images taken by both the students’ and the project team that will be showcased at a local library to engage broader excitement about biological research.
Alice and fellow teammates Dr. Caroline Hoppe, Dr. Valerie Tornini, Dr. Mina Kojima, and Mark Pown all hosted a virtual event with 25 New Haven High School students where they introduced their students to microscopy and embryology, meet live embryos from the project leaders labs, and coordinated virtual breakout rooms for hands on learning where each student built their own microscope. Images from the students work will be displayed at the public libraries. An in person even of the same nature will be held in late spring.