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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Discover the invisible world of microbes! A Young Women In Bio Event at College Track (Oakland), March 12, 2020

Posted By Tanvi Sinha, Thursday, March 26, 2020
On March 12, 2020, the YWIB-San Francisco Bay Area chapter intended to hold an event exclusively for College Track Oakland participants to introduce students to the invisible world of microbes. The event would have included a hands-on activity to demonstrate how to swab surfaces and grow bacteria on agar plates. Given the global situation surrounding COVID-19, the decision was made to reschedule the event as a video conference to talk about the biology of bacteria and viruses and to speak to the science behind the CDC/WHO recommendations on handwashing and social distancing, particularly as it relates to COVID-19. 

Julie Huang, a YWIB-San Francisco Bay Area volunteer, and local microbiologist led this event to great success. It was attended by four 9th graders who are part of the College Track program and were highly engaged during the presentation, asking thoughtful questions throughout. Key topics included the effectiveness of antibiotics for bacterial vs viral infections, the propagation of viruses, viral genetic material and the way in which scientists leverage this information to develop vaccines, and the process through which viruses infect humans. The discussion also focused on the way in which viruses enter the respiratory system and why handwashing is so important. Julie also explained the importance of social distancing and why schools are closing in an effort to help “flatten the curve” and not overburden the healthcare system.

The students and the site coordinator at College Track gave extremely positive feedback on this event. The lower participation for this particular event was due to students needing to be present at the College Track site to participate in this particular virtual event.

We are incredibly proud of Julie for proactively being sensitive to the needs and comfort of the students and volunteers, re-planning a remote activity on 24 hours’ notice, and coordinating all the details, as well as running a very high-quality event which actively engaged the students with a timely connection of science to current world news and events. She represented YWIB beautifully! As a result of this event, we are considering ways in which to present a virtual event to a significantly larger audience with similar content.


Tags:  2020  San Francisco 

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WIB-Seattle: YWIB-Seattle at the Fred Hutch for a Look Inside Our Blood!, February 26, 2020

Posted By Brittany Ruhland, Monday, March 16, 2020

For the second year in a row, YWIB-Seattle collaborated with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) for an event titled "Join YWIB-Seattle at the Fred Hutch for a Look Inside Our Blood!" on February 26, 2020. Eleven students from Seattle-area high schools attended to learn about the fascinating and complex components that make up our blood. Dr. Beverly Torok-Storb (FHCRC, Clinical Research Division) introduced students to the concept of adult stem cells, and their immense potential for regeneration therapy. The students looked through many microscopy images of various blood cells to gain a greater understanding of how all these cells work together, and to be able to identify them in their samples later in the lab. While discussing internships for high school students at the FHCRC, Dr. Torok-Storb emphasized the importance of diversity in the biomedical workforce: utilizing everyone's unique perspective means that together we will be able to generate creative research advances even faster.

Click here for more photos.


After learning the necessary background information, students donned the proper safety gear and first demonstrated to themselves the concept of G-force, relevant to the centrifuge they later used. They did this by swinging a bucket of water above their heads, and staying dry because G-forces kept the water inside the bucket. The overall goal of their lab activity was to learn how to make whole-blood and enriched-sample smears on a slide, and image those smears by microscopy after staining. The majority of cells in these smears were red blood cells, but after properly centrifuging their samples of dog blood in a sugar gradient, students were able to enrich for lymphocytes and stain smears of concentrated immune cells present in the blood samples. Dr. Torok-Storb connected observations students made based on their slides, like the presence or absence of lymphocytes in whole-blood smears, to the clinical manifestations of leukemia discussed in her talk. Students were able to see some of the facilities and lab spaces at FHCRC in a tour, while learning what happens in those spaces and how it tied back to the mission of FHCRC.

Tags:  2020  Seattle 

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WIB-RTP: YWIB Kramden Institute Inc.

Posted By Ashley Mcdonald-Burns, Thursday, March 5, 2020

On January 25, Young Women In Bio RTP attended a Digital Technology workshop titled "Digital Imaging with GIMP." The workshop was hosted by Kramden Institute Inc., a non-profit organization that is dedicated to computer literacy and providing technology for those in need. During the workshop, the girls learned how to use GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), a free imaging software to create posters and graphics.

Click here for more photos.


The instructors from Kramden Institute focused on familiarizing the girls with the GIMP interface, windows, and tools, so all attendees left with the ability to use GIMP for future school and art projects. The attendees were taken step-by-step through five exercises that taught the importance of resolution when editing an image, how to alter the color of an image, and how to use layers and masks to place a famous movie star's face on a rock. The interactive class allowed the attendees to be creative and move beyond the scope of reality. This was achieved by combining images that put a llama on the moon or a gladiator fighting a guinea pig. In addition to learning tools to edit images, participants also learned several keyboard shortcuts that can be used in the future to increase efficiency while working on various projects.

We would like to thank Kramden Institute particularly, Cari DelMariani and Marshall Burkes for helping to organize the event, and Lile Stephens and Katie McNeirney for leading the workshop.

Tags:  2020  RTP 

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WIB-Greater Montreal: De Sherlock Holmes à la criminalistique moderne: découvrez les mystères de l'encre, February 25, 2020

Posted By Pascale Bouchard, Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Young Women In Bio – Greater Montreal Chapter’s hosted its 7th interactive workshop at Concordia University: From Sherlock Holmes to modern forensics: reveal the mysteries of ink. The students started the day with a brief welcome from YWIB and Concordia University. Examples of career paths in STEM were shared and students were encouraged to learn more about university programs in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics.

Click here for more photos


The students then entered the lab for an interesting lecture that demonstrated there is more to the ink than meets the eye.

Using modern-day, exquisitely sophisticated molecular spectroscopy methods they were also able to differentiate various inks non-destructively. With these tools, the students were able to examine the ink of a note left at an imaginary crime scene and link potential suspects to this evidence.

As Concordia University has done in the past, they spoiled the students with liquid nitrogen ice cream. Even teachers and YWIB volunteers got a taste too!

We ended the day with a pizza lunch and a question and answer period.

Thank you to the excellent Arts and Science faculty members and students of Concordia University that made this a successful event.

Tags:  2020  Montreal 

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WIB-Southern California: Young Women In Bio: The Future of Life Sciences & Tech, February 18, 2020

Posted By Kristina Herbert, Tuesday, February 25, 2020

On February 18, 2020, Young Women In Bio (YWIB) Southern California partnered together with Thermo Fisher Scientific to host “The Future of Life Sciences and Technology” in Carlsbad, California, where Thermo Fisher’s Southern California offices are located. This event stemmed from a Young Women In Bio national initiative to engage young girls in discussions and activities focused on how life sciences and technology are working together to solve health and other life science-related problems and came almost exactly two years after a similar event in New York...





Please click here for the entire recap and additional photos

Tags:  2020  Southern California 

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WIB-Atlanta: Young Women In Bio - Sarah Smith Elementary Family Science Night, January 14, 2020

Posted By Claire Jarvis, Wednesday, January 22, 2020

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, YWIB-Atlanta was excited to return to the annual Sarah Smith Elementary Family Science Night. As one of the largest Atlanta Public Schools, Sarah Smith Elementary has a large and very dedicated community of parents and educators. The Family Science Night consists of various stations where students participate in some exciting science-related activities. As one of over 20 science exhibits, YWIB-Atlanta volunteers enjoyed talking with over 400 students and parents about DNA and scientist Rosalind Franklin.

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Tags:  2020  Atlanta 

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WIB-Southern California: San Diego Miramar College Biotechnology Program Mock Interview Night, December 9, 2019

Posted By Kristina M Herbert, Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Young Women In Bio attended San Diego Miramar College Biotechnology Program Mock Interview Night. YWIB volunteers Debra Hammill, who works as a Senior Quality Assurance Associate at Tanvex Biopharma, Kristina Herbert, a Research Assistant Professor and grant writer at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and Jocelyn Ramirez, an Associate Scientist at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, as well as other local biotech professionals each conducted mock interviews with four students from the Miramar College Biotechnology Program. Each student was evaluated on their interviewing skills and given feedback on their resume and answers to interview questions. The night ended with general feedback from all interviewing volunteers. Students were encouraged to make the most out of their resumes, highlighting any and all accomplishments. They were told to emphasize their transferable skills as many of them did not have a ton of work experience. Students were encouraged to be prepared with questions about the company when going into an interview and to recognize that they were also interviewing the company to determine if it was a good match for them.

Tags:  2019  Southern California 

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WIB-RTP: Young Women In Bio RTP Communications Workshop, January 8, 2020

Posted By Kaitlyn Bacon, Monday, January 20, 2020

On January 8, Young Women In Bio RTP hosted a communications workshop titled "Communicating Your Best Self" at the North Carolina School of Science and Math for 11th and 12th graders. 20 students attended the workshop in which three Young Women In Bio volunteers, who are active graduate students or industry professionals in biosciences, presented on best practice methods for effective communication in different settings. A large part of the presentation was sharing personal experiences in the field of science and specific challenges and ways to overcome them. The presentation broke down the verbal and non-verbal forms of communication – emphasizing how much of effective communication relies on the non-verbal components. The presentation included demonstrations on non-verbal communication methods such as handshakes and body language. This included a session for the students to practice introducing themselves and shaking each other's hands. Videos were also shown in the presentation that exemplified the influence of tone, inflection, and uptalk in communication.

For additional photos, click here.

In general, the students seemed surprised at how much of communication relies on the non-verbal portion – including dressing appropriately for professional settings – and how it can have such a strong impact on a communication message. Specific questions were asked on how to communicate effectively at networking events and scientific conferences and the best ways to prepare for those situations. The volunteers discussed these questions and suggested ways for students to find the best communication practice methods for each of them.

The volunteers enjoyed having an engaged and enthusiastic conversation with the students on communication and were happy to share their own personal experiences in this workshop. YWIB hopes to be able to participate in a communication workshop event again and thanks Dr. Kimberly Monahan for her help in organizing and coordinating the event for her students.

Tags:  2020 

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WIB-Southern California: Mission Bay High School Career Week, December 10, 2019

Posted By Kristina M. Herbert, Monday, January 13, 2020

Young Women In Bio attended Mission Bay High Schools Career Week to highlight the booming STEM job market within the San Diego area. Debra Hammill, who works as a Senior Quality Assurance Associate at Tanvex Biopharma and Kristina Herbert, a Research Assistant Professor and grant writer at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, both hosted a YWIB table, where they engaged students and encouraged them to pursue their interest in STEM-focused career paths within high school and beyond. Debra and Kristina later went into classrooms to speak with students about their individual career paths in the sciences. They answered questions about what they enjoyed about their jobs, what they would do differently if they could, and what skills they foresee being required in the future for STEM professionals.

Tags:  2019  Southern California 

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WIB-Greater Montreal: Planting the Seeds of Science Workshop for Girls in Grade 9, Thursday, November 21, 2019

Posted By Pascale Bouchard, Monday, January 6, 2020
YWIB and the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Center (GCRC) at McGill University partnered to host the Planting the Seeds of Science Workshop for girls aged 14 to 15. The GCRC volunteers introduced the students to biology through quizzes, workshops, informational presentations, and lab demonstrations.
 
Click here for more photos 

The event began with introductions from the YWIB Chair, Carmela De Luca, and the GCRC volunteers, as well as with a trivia game about women in science. The girls were, thereafter, given a tour of the Cancer Center, which included a presentation of the history of cancer research, an overview of major milestones within this field and a forecast of what to expect for the future. Tunde Golenar, a fifth-year Ph.D. at the Cancer Centre, proceeded to share her personal experiences pursuing a career in science.

After a short break, the students learned about biology and research techniques through several lab demonstrations. The first, Confocal Fluorescent Microscopy of Breast Cancer and Skin Cancer Cells, invited the girls into the confocal microscopy room to learn about basic principles of fluorescence as a tool for research. They viewed live-cell microscopy of melanoma cells and fixed cell microscopy of a breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

For the second lab demonstration, the girls were taught, using strawberries, how to extract DNA from the nucleus of cells. This station taught the girls simple cell biology and emphasized how researchers can use different solutions to sequentially break down cellular membranes and solubilize DNA.
 
The third educated the girls on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Gel Electrophoresis through the use of PCR in different types of research. They were taught how to pipette DNA into an agarose gel and were shown how electricity can separate DNA by size.
 
Lastly, using the enzyme bromelain from pineapple juice (which can degrade a polymerized matrix, such as Jell-o), the girls were taught how enzymes can catalyze reactions. Additionally, they were shown how high temperatures can decrease enzymatic activity due to denaturation of polypeptide sequences.

After the lab demonstrations and before concluding with a pizza lunch and question answer session, the girls were quizzed on what they learned and educated on some of possible STEM career paths.  


Tags:  2019  Montreal 

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