Department Hosts Science Outreach Event for Middle School Students-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Department Hosts Science Outreach Event for Middle School Students

On Saturday, June 7, the Department of Biological Sciences hosted an outreach event for the male and female mentoring groups from Mount Ararat Baptist Church Community Activity Center (MACAC). MACAC’s mentoring groups work to enhance academic achievement and social skills among sixth through eighth grade students. Seventeen students and ten mentors from MACAC spent the morning immersed in science lab activities designed by Dr. Carrie Doonan and Dr. Allison Marciszyn.

The first activity utilized ELISA assays to demonstrate how communicable diseases can be spread through a population by human-to-human contact. An imaginary scenario of a single individual "infected" with smallpox was used to reveal passage of the "virus" between people and how scientific experimentation can be used to "track" the source of the infectious outbreak.  

Another activity showcased the different stages of vertebrate development using fertilized chicken eggs. Students practiced extracting chicken egg contents on unfertilized eggs, and then proceeded to open and examine live developing chicken embryos from different stage fertilized eggs.

Besides Doonan and Marciszyn, the students and mentors worked closely with Dr. Peter Berget and ten undergraduate volunteers, Andrea Zonneveld, Jonah Klein, Steven Reilly, Kathleen McCann, Megan Martik, Rohit Ramnath, Victoria Aveson, Jonathan Sitrin, Jon Wolleben and Gregory Newby.

This outreach event was made possible by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Undergraduate Science Education Program and an HHMI Science Education Grant.

June 9, 2008