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Icon for: Sharon Gusky

SHARON GUSKY

Northwestern Connecticut Community College

Engaging Students from Classrooms and Camps to College and Technical Careers

NSF Awards: 1801062

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate

During the pandemic when we could not work in our labs, we adopted a bioinformatics project and taught high school students how to use a variety of bioinformatics tools to annotate a gene. The project was an extension of the SEAPHAGES project sponsor by HHMI.  College students worked high school students to identified conserved repeats and promotor regions of the bacteriophage GEMG. This project introduced the high school to bioinformatics and biotechnical careers and gave the college students an opportunity to continue to develop their technical skills.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (18 posts)
  • Icon for: Patricia Marsteller

    Patricia Marsteller

    Facilitator
    Professor of Practice Emeritus
    May 10, 2021 | 12:23 p.m.

    Thanks for this adaptation of SeaPhages.  I would like to share with members of my group who are working on Scientist spotlights and data.

    I would love to hear more about how you are evaluating impact on students to this kind of work and what toools are available to make sure that students have access to appropriate internet resources?

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 09:52 a.m.

    For impact, we have students complete pre and post surveys based on Grinell's Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences. We are also evaluating the impact on the high school students by following their high school science course choices and college major choices.   The high school students all had internet access and the college students helped them select the approriate internet resources to use. We only used resources that were freely available and did not need downloading.

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 09:59 a.m.

    Welcome to my video on Using Bioinformatics to Introduce Students to Biotech Careers. This project gave us the opportunitiy to work with high school students remotely and provide them with the opportunity to participate in authenitic research remotely. The pairing of community college students as the lead researchers and mentors with high school students provided opportunities for both to developed their scientific reasoning skills and increase their knowledge. Students enjoyed the project and the interactions during the pandemic helped keep students connected. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions about our project. 

  • Icon for: Michael Moore

    Michael Moore

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 10:10 a.m.

    I love this creative way of helping students feel connected! So important over this last year and cannot be emphasized enough! Great work Sharon!

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 10:12 a.m.

    Thanks, Michael.

  • Icon for: Anya Goodman

    Anya Goodman

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 06:21 p.m.

    Sharon, thank you for sharing your project - watching your presentation made me realize that connecting undergrads as mentors for high school students is a terrific way to develop leadership and project ownership! I am part of the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) where we are also using genomics to bring research to undergraduate students, but working with eukaryotic genes (if your students experienced with phages want to move into eukaryotic genes - we got projects for them and we are actively recruiting CC faculty/student teams). Over the pandemic/transition to virtual research, we/GEP also came to realize the value of peer-mentoring by hiring experienced students as virtual TAs to lead/teach new students (so CC students may be acting as virtual TAs for undergrads nationwide).  After watching your video, I want try to expand our local connections to high schools! I wonder if the college student's mentoring HS student research team can also help increase the pool of undergrads considering STEM teaching careers! Did any of your students express an interest in teaching HS science after their experience?  

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 08:13 a.m.

    Anya, your GEP project sounds interesting and would like to give my students the opportunity to get involved with eukaryotic genes. Yes, I found that the college students became interested in teaching after working with the high school students. They enjoyed sharing their knowledge with them and mentoring them.

  • Icon for: Alexa Sawa

    Alexa Sawa

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 11:58 a.m.

    GEP and SeaPhages go well together if you have the time. We have at least one GEP member who uses both at her CC. Like everyone else I think the pairing of your students with high school students was a great idea.

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 12:07 p.m.

    Thank you, Alexa. I think GEP would work well with my students. I am hoping that there is a fall or alternative training session. When I looked at the summer schedule, I could not participate due to other committments.

  • Icon for: Patricia Marsteller

    Patricia Marsteller

    Facilitator
    Professor of Practice Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 06:55 p.m.

    So cool. Love the ideas of connecting undergrads and high school students...there are so many advantages for UG mentors .

    One of the things that is imprtant is to prepare them to mentor others especially if the schools are more diverse than the UG.  Have you developed ways to prepare the UGs for this?  I have had some projects that used resources from Entering Mentoring and Entering Research to help.

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 08:19 a.m.

     While there are differences in diversity between the community college popuation and the  high schools (and community), our college students come from the local high schools and live in the community so we have not found the differences in diversity to be an issue. We do provide  basic mentoring training but I will look into the  resources that you mention. Thank you, Pat.

  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    Senior Advisor for Education and Communication (Retired)
    May 11, 2021 | 08:54 p.m.

    I echo everyone else's comments in congratulating you on this novel and important approach of having undergraduates work with high school students. There are clear benefits for both groups of students. I'm wondering whether and how you might involve high school teachers in this kind of work? For example, I could envision a three-way partnership involving an undergraduate from your college, a high school student, and that high school student's science teacher. Another possible arrangement is something similar to NSF's Research Experiences for Teachers initiative (Research Experiences for Teachers Sites in Biological Sciences (BIORETS) (nsf21584) | NSF - National Science Foundation) where CC faculty, their undergraduate students, and teachers (and perhaps the teacher's students?) might work together on an authentic research project such as the one described in the video. Given that this project was done primarily online, it could be particularly amenable to teachers who may be looking for a research experience but who may not be able to devote time in an in-person experience.

    Thanks again for posting!

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 09:07 a.m.

    Thank you, Jay. I was not aware of the BIORETS program and you are right it is a good fit. The high school teachers have attended some sessions to see what their students are doing but having  them participate in the research as well is a great idea. 

  • Icon for: Patricia Marsteller

    Patricia Marsteller

    Facilitator
    Professor of Practice Emeritus
    May 12, 2021 | 12:10 p.m.

    Hi Sharon

    I had some grants for Research Experiences for Teachers in the past.  I think these programs are exceptionally valuable especially i one pairs UG in the same experience!

    Go for it!

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 12:25 p.m.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I will give it a shot.

  • Icon for: Judith Dilts

    Judith Dilts

    Facilitator
    Retired Associate Dean, College of Science and Mathematics
    May 12, 2021 | 07:11 p.m.

    Great way to connect high school and college students with a real research project. What kind of training prepared the college students for working with and mentoring high school students? Also, do you plan on continuing the project virtually even when in person learning is allowed?

    Thanks!  Judy

  • Icon for: Sharon Gusky

    Sharon Gusky

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 07:47 a.m.

    Thank you, Judy. The training has been fairly informal. They meet with one of the STEM faculty to cover mentoring basics and then the entire group meets with me weekly.  Yes, we plan to continue virtually but we are adding a wetlab discovery option for an in-person experience. The virtual works really well for the bioinformatics research and it allows students without transportation to participate.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Judith Dilts
  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    Senior Advisor for Education and Communication (Retired)
    May 16, 2021 | 10:41 p.m.

    Sorry for the delay in getting back into this discussion. Engaging teachers to become part of policy- and decision-making in education is, to me, a critical component of teacher leadership ranging from a teacher's classroom to the entire school, school district, and for some, at the state and national levels. As a point of information, TERC, the organizer of this STEM For all Video Showcase, also has another project supported by the NSF called the STEM Teacher Leadership Network. In the 18 months of its existence, it has amassed an impressive array of monthly webinars, blogs, and other resources related to teacher leadership. It's worth checking out if you are a K-12 STEM teacher at any stage of your career or someone who works with or learn from STEM teachers. I'm proud to serve on the Network's advisory board. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sharon Gusky
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