MBL Alumni Rock with Alumni ROCS Projects

The MBL Alumni ROCS (Regional Outreach and Communications in STEM) is a competitive program that provides funding for alumni of Advanced Research Training courses to create and deploy an outreach project that brings their MBL experience back to their community.

"Every year, hundreds of students come to the MBL to take part in our Advanced Research Training Courses," said Linda Hyman, MBL Director of Education. "The Alumni ROCS initiative is an amazing way to spread that experience to their wider community."

Funded by the National Science Foundation, MBL Alumni ROCS seeks to extend the MBL experience beyond Woods Hole and into the community nationwide by sharing MBL experiences while increasing the science literacy of and connecting with student’s local communities.

Four projects were funded this year, all headed by 2021 course alumni.

Visualizing embryos using your own DIY microscope

Alice Sherrard, Yale University
2021 Embryology Student

Public high school students will learn about embryology and microscopy, build microscopes, and ultimately display their images at the New Haven Free Public Library in New Haven, CT. The students will view C. elegansdrosophila, zebrafish and squid embryos to pique their curiosity about developmental biology—and hopefully inspire a lifelong interest in science.

Target Audience: Public high school students. New Haven, CT

Baltimore Physiology: Research Exhibit and Demonstration

Brady Goulden, Johns Hopkins Univsersity
2021 Physiology Student

Working with the Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group and JHU’s Science in Action group, MBL-based research will be highlighted in a poster exhibit at Baltimore City Hall and in demonstrations to Baltimore public school students. The outreach will educate the public about both the research being done with fungi and stentor, as well as the importance of government funding for research to better understand questions in cell biology that have broader impacts in medicine and global health.

Target Audience: Residents, elected officials, and public school students. Baltimore, MD

Finding the Beauty in Microbial Diversity - A Field-Based Program for High School Students

Elliot Mueller, CalTech
2021 Microbial Diversity Student

Working with Caltech’s GO-Outdoors organization and Pasadena Unified School District’s STEM specialist, lessons and field trips will be designed to get students, particularly students of color, into the field to sample local microbial diversity. They will explore large geological processes that control local ecological niches, investigate those niches during in-class laboratory experiments, and visualize the microbial world with microscopes they build with their own hands. Students will build Winogradsky columns and Foldscopes to study their samples. The project will culminate in a student poster session held on the Caltech campus.

Target Audience: Pasadena Unified School District high school students. Pasadena, CA

Ant Room

Lily Khadempour, Rutgers University
2021 Microbial Diversity Student

The "Ant Room" will be created to display attine and honeypot ant colonies and teach students about microbiology, entomology, and symbiosis. Working with colleagues at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the displays will be built and students from the Newark Public School District will visit the colonies for a close-up look at animal-microbe symbiosis and microbiomes more generally.

Target Audience: Public school students. Newark N.J.