Jillian Worssam, founder of the Scientists in the Classroom program and 8th grade science educator at Sinagua Middle School, has been connecting her students to STEM mentors for more than ten years. Carrie Jenkins, 7th grade science educator, has also been connecting her Honors students to mentors for the past several years. The teachers pair each student to one mentor so the student becomes an expert in their mentor's field. Each month the students correspond with their mentors via e-mail and complete an interactive project enhancing their understanding of authentic science in the global world. Students use a variety of media and complete mp3 interviews/recording, research papers, powerpoint presentations, climate change movies, climate change games, and a capstone project based on their mentor's research.
Mentors Dave Engelthaler, Nancy Riggs, Cheryl Miller and Ruby Hammond standing proudly with their Honors Students
Many thanks to the teachers for managing this large project each year, and also to the many STEM mentors - who come from many countries including Norway and Russia, as well as from all over the country and Flagstaff too! The STEM professionals cover a huge variety of STEM fields, and almost all have PhD's or M.D.'s or other advanced titles! Thank you all for sharing yourselves and your work with these dedicated students!
7th Grade Honors Student Mentors: John Chadwick, Harrison Graham, Kaitlin Graham, Robert Greene, Kenton Harman, Kendra Hart, Alan Kasprak, Melanie Kelly, Sarah Kessans, Jilene Oakley, Doug Paget, Ryan Porter, Uzma Tahir, Benjamin Tanner, Ben Trapp, Jason Wilson, Lisa Winters, and Brian Wooldridge.
8th Grade Honors Student Mentors: Ana M. Aguilar-Islas, Carl Ballantine, Ellie Broadman, Druex Chappel, Emily Davenport, Sara Eldred, Rebecca Ellerbroek, Dave Engelthaler, Mark Foster, Ari Friedlaender, Jeffrey Hall, Ruby Hammond, Jennifer Herrmann, Renee Jordan, Roger Pat Kelly, Brian Klimowski, Tracy Layton, Laura Levy, Brandon Lurie, Jason Mansour, Lisa Markovchick, Clayton Marr, George Matsumoto, Michael Mayo, Christina Mehle, John Metcalfe, Moses Milazzo, Cheryl Miller, Peter Nef, Matthew O’Neill, Yvette Ortega, Nancy Riggs, Paul Stevens, Allen Pope, Karin Wadsack, Jonathan Whitefield, Adam Wlostowski, Lindsey Wright, and Yulia Zaika
Apologies if we missed any mentors! Thank you all!
Aubrey Funke, the Assistant Director of the Imaging and Histology Core Facility (IHCF), welcomed the iCREATE students to the IHCF to learn how to use an extremely powerful (and extremely expensive) microscope! The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) can magnify 1,000,000 times - which is 1,000 better than a light microscope, which is already 1,000 time better than our eyes!
The Imaging and Histology Core Facility provides imaging services to faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, along with industry partners. They provide services in light microscopy, electron microscopy, and histology (microscopy of tissues).
Graduate Student Alyssa Talbert creates scaffolds for wound healing with elastin, collagen and water in her graduate work. But here, she is illustrating how to collect and stain cheek samples for the students to view under the light microscope.
Alyssa and Aubrey then take the students to compare the digital light microscope images with the detail they can see with the SEM. Because electrons have a very small wavelength, much smaller than the wavelength of light, the resolution using the SEM is much greater than that of light microscopes.
Aubrey and Alyssa shared a variety of SEM images with the students, from insects (see past Ugly Bug Contest winners below), to fungi, Alyssa's scaffolds, and much more!
The students spent approximately 8 hours at the IHCF learning how to use the SEM. They took copious notes they then followed explicitly, with Aubrey observing them, and they were able to run the SEM themselves on their last day of the training!
Thank you to both Alyssa and Aubrey for all the time and patient effort they put into instructing the students on the SEM. We weren't surprised to learn that Aubrey won the "Outstanding Staff Member" for NAU's Biology Department at their award ceremony on Wednesday, May 2nd. Congratulations to Aubrey!
The City of Flagstaff Sustainability Section held their first Youth Climate Summit at the Arboretum of Flagstaff and the adjacent Merriam-Powell Research Station on Monday, April 30th. Sam Salgado, Climate Aide, professionally completed what past-STEM VISTA member Larrea Cottingham had initiated and ran the event with Sustainability Specialist Jenny Niemann and with support from the City's Water Conservation Program.
Eight student groups from schools and after-school clubs have worked for months on their entries to the Youth Climate Challenge and five of the groups were able to present their work to judges Councilman Jim McCarthy and City Water Specialist Tamara Lawless. The projects included:
After the impressive and professional presentations, the students walked back to the Arboretum for lunch and listened to a guest presentation by Grand Canyon Trust's Uplift Coordinator Eva Malis, sharing how youth do have power and celebrating the efforts they have already made.
After lunch, the students rotated between two workshops - Gardening with Native Plants, and Climate Action Planning. Each team received a certificate at the end of the event. Many thanks to the Arboretum for hosting the event and to the Dr. Kristin Haskins, Coreen Walsh, and other Arboretum staff for assisting with the workshops!