GEM engages with many groups to provide opportunities for students and families to learn about the genome and microbiome. GEM also has a network of UB students, faculty and staff that volunteer to visit classrooms and deliver these lessons. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Sandra Small, PhD.
GEM is a proud supporter of the new Research and Laboratory Sciences High School PS 366 in the Buffalo Public School District. This school is for students with a passion for inquiry and STEM and uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare students for the growing life sciences economy in Western New York. GEM and UB CBLS are contracted by the school district to provide an after school program. This is a diverse program with lessons on social and emotional development, healthy cooking and wellness, informal STEM lessons, field trips, and homework assistance.
Dr. Sandra Small, GEM Science Education Director, led partners on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) in creating the ACES Summer Camp for students entering 9th grade. The camp was created in collaboration with The Research Laboratory Program. Students spent time learning about the many careers on the BNMC, and were able to participate in many hands-on activities. They had the chance to be a biomedical engineer at the Jacob’s Institute, be a genetic counselor at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, build a soda bottle launcher at UB CBLS, and assemble 3D printed hands to be used by children without hands.
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) annually hosts an open house for area middle and high school students and parents. Participants are able to visit various buildings on the campus and participate in hands-on learning activities. Visitors to UB’s CBLS were able to make their own bio-art drawings, using two strains of yeast and petri dishes. The plates were incubated and then posted onto GEM's Facebook page for participants to view their masterpieces.
This is a partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools. Four hundred eighth grade students, from around the district, are able to visit UB CBLS and Roswell Park for a half day event. The students work in small groups with a student, staff, or faculty volunteer to learn about genetics and working in science. They participate in various activities, including extracting their own DNA and taking it home in a necklace. Over 50 volunteers make this day possible. The 5th annual Genome Day is scheduled for March 26, 2019. Please contact Dr. Small if you are interested in volunteering.
In an effort to encourage life sciences education at an early age, Dr. Small has trained UB faculty, staff and students to lead second grade students through a microbiome workshop, developed by Jennifer Surtees, PhD, GEM Co-Director. The workshops are conducted during multiple classroom visits and allow the second grade students to be scientists and investigate the microbes found on themselves and around the classroom and concludes with an art project. In November 2016, as part of the first annual “Mind Your Microbiome” week, UB students, faculty and staff volunteers delivered this lesson to students in BPS schools #89 Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence, Discovery School #67 and Sweet Home School District’s Glendale Elementary.
GEM and Coalesce Center for Biological Art participated in this annual event for high school students. Over 1,000 high students visit UB’s North Campus for a day of hands-on STEM activities. Students who visited Coalesce learned about gel electrophoresis and pipetting. They were able to use their new-found skills to load their own bio-art gel.
UB Faculty and GEM member, Dr. Steve Koury has been awarded the Science Education Partnership Award to support professional development for teachers and more experiential learning for students in bioinformatics. Norma Nowak, PhD, GEM Co-Director, is Co-Investigator on the award. Drs. Nowak and Small annually present to participating teachers and students about the importance of genomics and related careers.
Fifth Grade students from the entire Sweet Home District gather once a year for this event. Students hear from a keynote speaker and spend the morning rotating through concurrent STEM sessions. Dr. Surtees and Dr. Small hosted a session with “Alex’s Antibiotics.” Students simulated how antibiotics work and why it is important to our health to use them responsibly.
Dr. Small participated in the STEM fair for Amherst High School students. Students had the opportunity to extract their own DNA and learn about the morality and ethics of new DNA technologies. Over 100 students participated!
The School of Public Health and Health Professions, in partnership with the Erie-Niagara Area Health Education Center (AHEC), annually offers a summer camp to high school students entering 10th-12 grade. The camp introduces them to careers in health and medicine. Dr. Small presents to the students a lesson on the microbiome, proper hand washing, and the existence of both good microbes and germs.