2013 Annual Science Report

Georgia Institute of Technology Reporting  |  SEP 2012 – AUG 2013

Life on the Edge: Astrobiology Summer Learning Program

Project Summary

The Ribo Evo Center changed their focus this year and hosted 10 high school students and undergraduates in research labs over the summer. These students prepared posters and presented them at the 2013 so Max meeting in Atlanta. Currently, RiboEvo members are mentoring this cohort of high school students for their local science fair.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Our EPO program the Georgia Tech team leverages resources and assets including (a) CEISMC (Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing), (b) the Georgia’s GIFT program (Georgia Intern-Fellowships for Teachers), (c) the NSF-sponsored SURE program, which provides funding for undergraduates interested in teaching, (d) the NSF-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program, (e) the Siemens-sponsored Research, Experiment, Analyze and Learn (REAL) Program, and (f) Center members’ laboratories and research groups. This year the Georgia Tech Team discontinued their week-long non-residential Summer Learning Program, called Life on the Edge: Astrobiology. Instead they instituted a program in which 10th grade students (from under-represented groups) and several undergraduates spent the entire summer working along side Center researchers in the laboratory. We started the summer with a one week molecular biology boot camp, in which the students were taught basic molecular biology and biochemical techniques. For the rest of the summer the students worked in research labs alongside seasoned researchers. At the end of the summer the students presented posters in a School of Chemistry and Biochemistry poster session. Later on some of them presented their posters at the South East Regional American Chemical Society meeting. These 10th graders will maintain a long-term relationship with our center. Currently we are working with them on their posters for their high school science fairs. We plan to mentor and help guide these students through their college application processes. In addition, members of the RiboEvo Center helped with, “Hands on Future Tech High School Outreach Program” (one hundred and thirty-five local middle school boys participated in “hands-on” demonstrations) and the “Buzz on Biotechnology High School Open House”, (a science fair open house held each fall organized entirely by graduate students to encourage high school students to indulge in their scientific curiosity).

And finally, the Center, along with other contributors, is working to bring Astrobiology content to teachers through the new NASA Electronic Professional Development Network (ePDN). In addition, many undergraduates and high school students work in research labs run by the Co-PIs of the Georgia Tech Center. These students participate in all aspects of astrobiology research, including presentation their work at local and regional meetings.

RiboEvo high school students in front of a poster at the 2013 Southeast Regional American Chemical Society Meeting..
RiboEvo Postdoc Brande Jones showing middle school students how to run a gel at Hands-On Future Tech

Summer RiboEvo researcher Jennifer Rattray with her poster at the School of Chmeistry and Biochemistry poster session.
RiboEvo 2013 Summer Researchers: Justin Williams (Grady HS), Vanessa Chen (Campbell HS), Sara Hojjatie (GT UG), Blanca Quinones (UPR UG), Lena Adams (Mays HS), Aaliyah Harris (Mays HS), Tatyana Sampson (Grady HS) (not shown: Jonathan Thurman, Jennifer Rattray)