Ruby Hammond, a doctoral graduate student with Tad Theimer's lab at Northern Arizona University, recently presented on Flagstaff birds to Killip Elementary School's after school Habitat Class. The class, led by teacher Mable Wauneka-Goodwin and volunteer Moses Aruguete, is building a bird-friendly habitat in the school's Luna Courtyard.
The fourteen 2nd and 3rd graders already knew a lot of information about both birds and bats, and had many bird stories to share with Ruby! They are all enthusiastic about creating better habitat for birds near Killip and learned more about the local birds and their food and nesting preferences from Ruby's presentation.
Ruby also taught the students some good tricks for identifying birds. Now the students (and you) can distinguish between a raven and a crow!
Ruby's "Urban birds in Flagstaff" presentation and information on nesting preferences is now located on the STEM City Resource page. Moses Aruguete also provided information on building nesting shelves for Robins and Cardinals on this same page.
Killip's Habitat Class hopes you will help feed and house the birds this winter!
Dr. Darlene Lee, an anatomical and clinical pathologist at Flagstaff Medical Center, led thirteen high school students in the iCREATE bioscience class on a fascinating tour of the Clinical and Pathology Laboratory at FMC on Monday, November 14th. Pathology is the study of disease, and a pathologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in studying disease, including the source, extent, and cause of the disease in a patient. The students got to see many aspects of what this career entails.
The students began the tour by seeing some of the high-tech diagnostic tools available to test patient samples. These included urinalysis, PCR, flow cytometry and light microscopy. Jane Talisman, one of the laboratory lead technicians, even did a rapid test from Cate’s mucosal sample to determine if she had MRSA. Read to the end of the post to find out the result!
The students then watched Garn Bailey, the Pathologists’ Assistant, as he prepared to dissect an excised gall bladder. The students were able to touch the gall bladder to see what it felt like. The dissected gall bladder had several gallstones in it that were too large to exit the gall bladder on their own.
A frozen tissue sample from a patient came in, and the tour immediately switched over to observing the pathology team process this sample for the surgeon and patient waiting for it in the operating room. The pathology team can receive and process a sample, and return a diagnosis to a surgeon, within 20 minutes. This intraoperative pathology consultation helps guide the surgeon through the remainder of the procedure, so the patient has a better outcome.
Garn put the sample on the cryostat, a machine that keeps the sample frozen while shaving off very thin slices for placing on microscope slides. Audrey McMillon, a histotechnologist, then stained the samples with a specific stain to highlight what the surgeon needed to view. Histology is the study of the microscopic structure of tissues.
There are four pathologists at FMC and one at Verde Medical Center. In order to become a pathologist, you need a four-year college degree, then a four-year medical school degree, and then you need to complete your pathology residency for another four years! If you want to do a subspecialty fellowship, that takes another 1-2 years.
After the students completed the tour, Dr. Lee shared a presentation with three different case studies for the students to discuss. Just as Garn had previously, Dr. Lee reaffirmed that in order to recognize an abnormal pathology you need to know what the normal anatomy and histology looks like. During the cases, Dr. Lee asked the students what they thought, and what tests they would run to try and solve the case.
At the end of the presentation, Cate got the results from her diagnostic test. We were all thrilled she did not have Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA!
Note the sign above the door in the photo above. This important message reflects the commitment of the pathology team: Patients are our Purpose.
STEM City and the iCREATE collaborative thank Dr. Lee and the entire team in the Clinical and Pathology Lab for being such willing presenters, and for providing important and engaging information to the students. Thank you!
The Girls on the Run season finale on November 11th at Coconino High School included a Hall of Heroes with many STEM professionals represented! Thank you so much to the following Wonder Women for participating in the 2016 Hall of Heroes!
Medical professionals, Dr. Kate Preston, Dr. Margaret Donnelly and Clinical Pharmacist Randee Fullenwider, all shared their experiences in the medical field with the girls.
Mechanical Engineer Beth Cooperrider, Lawyer Jennifer Mott, and Wildland Forest Fighter Maggie Knight shared their journeys and careers with the girls.
Lowell Observatory Astronomers Dr. Lisa Prato and Dr. Deidre Hunter shared starry wonders, and Lisa Lamberson, owner of Mountain Sports, described the joys and challenges of running a successful store in downtown Flagstaff.
Thank you all for your contributions to empowering our young women through the Girls on the Run Hall of Heroes!
My name is Megan Carmel and I am working as an AmeriCorps VISTA member this year with the Flagstaff Area National Monuments (National Park Service). My official title is Public Outreach and STEM Education Liaison. I am originally from Columbus, Ohio and have always been fascinated by weather and climate. I received my Bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in Environmental Geography, then came to Flagstaff and received my Master’s in Climate Science and Solutions at Northern Arizona University.
Right now, I am developing a service learning project for Summit High School and the Teenage Parent Program (TAPP). I will be working with TAPP teacher Michele Craig, high school science teacher Miguel Fernandez, and middle school science teacher Kim Howell, along with their roughly 40 students. The program is focused on climate change and cultural resources, and how climate change will affect the preservation and monitoring of ancient cultural structures into the future.
Over the past several months, I have been able to work closely with National Park Service (NPS) archeologists Erin Gearty and Ian Hough to develop this program. In August, I began a month out in the field with the archeologists and was able to assist in preservation and monitoring work of prehistoric cultural sites at Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments. This training, along with my classroom program training with my mentor, Steven Rossi, has been instrumental in preparing me for the development of this service learning project.
Starting in February, I will be giving three classroom programs at Summit High School for two classrooms, a middle school science class and a high school science class, along with the students in the TAPP. The first program will focus on climate change in general and in the Flagstaff area. The second will focus on the NPS and climate change. The third will focus on archeology, cultural resources, and climate change and will be an introduction to the service learning fieldwork portion of the program.
The service learning project will take place in the spring out at Wupatki National Monument. Each class will get to come out to the monument twice for field work and reflection. Students will experiment with different types of mortar and determine which sand/clay compositions and binders will stand up best to current weather conditions and changing weather patterns in the future. Upon completion of the project, students will creatively present their work to NPS staff and other members of the Flagstaff area community.
This project and the data collected by the students will be used directly by NPS archeologists in helping them determine which mortars will work best for their work in preserving ancient pueblos. In turn, the students will gain a sense of ownership over their work, be able to reflect on the work that they did, understand how it relates to them personally, and experience what it’s like to work in a real-world, scientific setting.
My goal is to show students the unique opportunities available to them when considering their career paths, experience a place-based service learning project in our parks, and simply get them outdoors enjoying their natural and cultural environment. I’m so excited to work with Summit High School and TAPP, and can’t wait to see this program unfold.
Flagstaff STEM Coordinator