Bio Class visits URMC Life Sciences Learning Centers

March 14, 2016

The Life Sciences Learning Center (LSLC) is a unique hands-on science inquiry center for students and community members.  It is located at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  They offer innovative and engaging programs to area secondary students.  We invited a local high school student to share her experience following a recent visit to the LSLC.

A few weeks ago, my biology class visited the University of Rochester’s Life Sciences Learning Centers. We only knew that we were doing a lab, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. Upon arriving, we donned our lab coats and sat down at our individual stations. We immediately started a lab that involved the development of an HIV vaccine. First, we studied the spread of the virus and how the immune system reacts to it. This involved exchanging fluids which could possibly contain the virus. We then tested our fluids to see who was “infected.” Our instructor then showed us how to set up gels to test the vaccines. We got to use a micropipette to place the solution in the gels, which proved to be a bit of a challenge. However, there were some future doctors and scientists who were definitely naturals. After this, we sent an electrical current through the gels. Our results helped us determine which vaccine would be the most effective.

BHS at URMC1

Brockport High School Bio Students visit the LSLC

At the end of the program, our class got a photo together.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the learning center. I liked getting to see what doctors and scientists do every day to help save lives and advance technology. I would definitely return to do another lab.

 

Bridget Moyer is a 9th Grade Student at Brockport High School.

Want to learn more about the Life Sciences Learning Center?

URMC To learn more about the LSLC, visit their website or check out their facebook page to learn more about their exciting work with area students.

STUDENTS:  Are you a local student interested in writing about your experiences in local STEM activities?  We invite you to join us for our student guest blog series! Contact our Web Administrator at tammybon@EmpireSTEM-FL.org

 

 

 


The “E” in STEM

April 20, 2015

Last month during Engineering Week, we started taking a look at Engineering Explorer Posts available to our local High School Students.  This week’s focus is on Explorer Post 801, hosted by the Rochester Engineering Society.

Explorer Post 801

Explorer Post 801

The members of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES) feel the best part of STEM is the “E”.  Each year, the RES sponsors “Career Options in Engineering”, Explorer Post 801.  The post is open to older high school girls and boys in the five county area around Rochester, NY.  The focus is to help students find out what “Engineering is really about”.

The stereotypical engineer has thick glasses, bends over a desk all day, writes with a mechanical pencil all while avoiding eye contact with people.  The purpose of Post 801 is to introduce students to real engineers, doing real work in the real world.  I’ll bet there is at least one of us that matches the stereotype, but most engineers spend their day talking with other engineers, customers, trades people and consumers trying to solve real problems.

Explorers at __________

Inside the RIT Microelectronics clean room

Students hear about a typical day in the life of an engineer from the engineer.  Students learn about engineering education, about the perks of being an engineer and even about some of the trials an engineer might experience.  This is not about slick power point presentations, but more show and tell, with a smattering of advice from the heart.

Each of our presenters tells the story of their road to engineering.  Some were math whizzes in high school but a few were not!  They tell the story of what college they selected and why.  We always hear a few stories about special jobs they did that you would never expect an engineer to do.  One has a story of cleaning up Anthrax contamination in a NYC sky scraper while another has stories of working on JFK autopsy pictures.

Explorers at ______

Gleason Works

Each engineer tells the story of a job that pays well, offers constant challenges and continuous learning, but offers the bigger perk of personal satisfaction.  At the end of the day, engineers design and build products that help people.  Imagine your personal pride as you are in a car driving over the Frederick Douglass – Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge in Rochester with your family and grandchildren, knowing that your work helps tens of thousands of people make it home from work each day, every day, safely and quickly.

The post runs from January to March, meeting each Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30.  Sign up is in early October.  This year we had 24 students and 12 meetings.  Our students met engineers from: Chemical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Structural Engineering, Highway Engineering, Bio medical Engineering, Microelectronic Engineering, Software Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Electro-Magnetic Interference Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Imaging Science.  You can see the full schedule on the RES Website.

Explorers at _____

Chemical Engineering at RIT

Each week we meet at a new location so we can see and feel what it is like to be an engineer.  We tour facilities like: the Gleason Works, the Microelectronics Wafer Fab Facility at RIT, the Bio-medical Engineering labs at the U of R, the Electro-Magnetic Interference and Product Safety Test Engineering labs at TUV Rheinland of North America and the Ginna Nuclear power plant.

The RES Explorers would like to express our appreciation for the generosity of our host companies, institutions and most importantly the presenters that donated their time and talents to meet with our students.  Our program will start again in January 2016 and we would welcome your children.  Contact Lynne Irwin at the RES res@frontiernet.net (585) 254-2350 or Keith Gomez Keith.Gomez@scouting.org from the Seneca Waterways Council, BSA (585) 244-4210 for more information.  The cost of the program is approximately $40.

Richard Repka is a Commercialization manger at Kodak Alaris.  He has a BS & MS in Electrical Engineering from RIT and Syracuse University.  Richard is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES), where he also leads the RES Explorer Post 801.RESLOGOFINAL_cmyk_tagc


Spiders Aid Important Research at U of R’s Laser Lab

March 2, 2011

Spiders – you either love them or hate them. The scientists at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) love them.

After all, they are very valuable little co-workers.

The U of R’s LLE was established in 1970 as a center for the investigation of the interaction of intense radiation with matter. The quest of the LLE is to establish a long-term energy solution using controlled experiments with fusion.

One of the groundbreaking aspects of this experimentation is the use of spider silk in target mounting – spider silk produced right in the LLE.

For many decades, biologists and material scientists have been researching spider silk – a web-like fiber that the spider prepares as a net, cocoon for harnessing prey, or dragline to lower itself. Of the six types of silk the common spider produces, dragline silk is the most resilient, elastic, strong and biodegradable.

At LLE, dragline silk is used to provide a stable, low mass mount for targets used on the OMEGA Laser System.

Steven Noyes developed the system for spider silk target mounting.

Here’s how it works:

• First a spider is suspended upside down so that dragline silk may be collected.

• Silk is then wrapped around a wheel and placed under UV light to bond the silk to the spokes of the wheel.

• The wheel is then bonded to the target mount.

The goal of using spider silk to hold the target is to simulate a mid-air suspension. The less intrusive the mount, the more accurate the testing results. That is why four strands of spider silk, 3 tenths of a micrometer in diameter are used to hold the target in place.

The target is a millimeter diameter fuel capsule that is fused to produce helium and energy upon being imploded by the 60 OMEGA laser beams.

The LLE is home to the most powerful laser in the world, the Omega Laser System. It is the hope of LLE to create a nuclear reactor that will use controlled fusion as a nearly limitless energy source. With the help of their miniature lab assistants, they seem well on their way.

For more information on the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, click here.


STEM Mentor Program Visits U of R’s Optics Program

December 31, 2010

Members of the STEM Mentor Program and the University of Rochester's Department of Optics

Recently, the University of Rochester’s doctoral program in Optics hosted members of the STEM Mentor Program. 

The STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) Mentor Program is an innovative partnership between  The Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science (The Center) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester.

STEM Bigs (who have an interest/education/or career in STEM fields) and Littles (whom are in grades 4-6) visited the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics in Goergen Hall for a highly interactive afternoon of optics fun. 

Doctoral students working with Professor Andrew Berger presented “Optics is Everywhere” – showing the Littles that, indeed, the field of optics is something they experience everyday. They also got to experiences aspects of optics they never had before, such as looking at their skin via a heat imaging camera.

A huge thank you to Dr. Berger and his students for sharing their passion with the STEM Mentor Program.  It was a wonderful opportunity for the Littles not only to learn about Optics, but to visit a university campus and to see a diverse group of scientists at work (and play!)

Enjoy these photos that capture the spirit of the day.

Littles from the STEM Mentor Program at their "Optics is Everywhere" presentation

 

Article and photos by Caurie Putnam – Coordinator of the STEM Mentor Program – cputnam3@zimbra.naz.edu