SciFest V is in the books

The Brandeis University Division of Science held its annual undergraduate research poster session SciFest V on July 30, 2015. Despite the 90 degree heat (and the steam leak) outside, the student presenters in the Shapiro Science atrium admirably kept their cool and showed off the results of their summer’s (or last year’s) worth of independent research. We had a great audience of grad students, postdocs, faculty, proud parents, members of the Brandeis senior administration, visiting neuroscientists at Brandeis helping evaluate our Computational Neuroscience training program, and physicists at Brandeis attending the IGERT Summer Institute.

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If you’re a student who didn’t get to present, or you’re a community member who just wanted a chance to talk about science with our energized undergrads, we’re planning another session for Fall Fest 2015. Stay tuned for details.

For a few more impressions of the event, see the story at Brandeis NOW. More pictures and abstract books are available at the SciFest site.

SciFest V by numbers

 

Science Policy: Science for Policy or Policy for Science?

This article was written by Jacqueline Jeon-Chapman. She is an undergraduate student who attended the MRSEC AAAS Policy event.

The Bioinspired Soft Materials MRSEC invited Dr. Šeila Selimovic, a Brandeis Physics Ph.D.’10, to campus on Wednesday, June 17th. In a room full of students, post-docs, staff, and faculty, Selimovic talked about her experiences working in science policy and gave practical advice to the audience about the career pathway. Her presentation was titled, “Science Policy: Science for Policy or Policy for Science?”

After working as a post-doc in a lab at Harvard-MIT, Selimovic began her current fellowship with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington D.C. Through this job, Selimovic has attended a UN conference, arranged meetings between diplomats and scientists, and developed a course for educating government workers about nuclear energy. She said her job involves being able to do extensive research in a given field because she provides government officials with the most recent and relevant statistics on scientific questions.

During her presentation, Selimovic talked about her initial lack of understanding regarding decision making. As she learned more about her job, she came to accept that science is not the only important factor in making decisions.

Selimovic also gave advice about how to find a job as an AAAS fellow. She said she thought that her strong publication record made her stand out as an applicant. Interestingly, she noted that not all of her publications were primary journal articles. Her publication list included many short reviews on recent scientific publications that concisely explained the significance of the work in simpler terms. To future policy fellows, she recommended writing and publishing often and seeking out opportunities to enhance science communication skills. Selimovic also recommended the website Cheeky Scientist Association for learning how to network, writing a resume, and gaining other career skills.

Overall, she said that working in science policy involves more teamwork than in academic research—one person plays a smaller role in a project.

 

 

Summer 2015: “Introduction to Microfluidics Technology”

Students are in the cleanroom during training.

Students in the clean room during training

The annual one-week course offered during the summer of 2015 is “Introduction to Microfluidics Technology” (June 22 – 26). It will be held at Brandeis University and sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s Bioinspired Soft Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Brandeis. It is intended for graduate students, post docs, faculty and industrial scientists and engineers interested in utilizing microfluidic technology in their work, in both physical sciences and life sciences, and does not assume any specific prerequisites.

SUMMER COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT 2015

Microfluidic Xmas Tree

MRSEC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (2015)

The Division of Science wishes to announce that, in 2015, we will offer  MRSEC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships for Brandeis students doing undergraduate research, sponsored by the Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.The due date for applications  is February 24, 2015,  at 6:00 PM EST.MRSEC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships will provide $5000 in stipend support to allow students to do summer research in MRSEC labs (housing support is not included). Students who will be rising Brandeis sophomores, juniors, or seniors in Summer 2015 (classes of ’16, ’17, and ’18). No prior lab experience is required. A commitment from a Brandeis MRSEC member to serve as your mentor in Summer 2015 is required.The Division of Science Summer Program will run from May 26 – July 31, 2015. Recipients are expected to be available to do full time laboratory research during that period, and must commit to presenting a poster at the final poster session on July 30, 2015. Five positions are available.The application form is online (Brandeis login required). Questions that are not answered in the online FAQ may be addressed to Steven Karel <divsci at brandeis.edu>
 
 

MRSEC Retreat, November 21, 2014

On Friday, November 21, 2014, the MRSEC will hold an on-campus retreat. The research goal of the MRSEC is to learn how materials are incorporated in biological systems and likewise how biological structures act as materials with highly desirable properties that can be exploited in engineering. The first part of the retreat will be a joint event with the Biochem/Biophys Friday seminar that takes place at 11:15am – 12:15pm. A lunch will be provided and in the afternoon there will be 3 talks by MRSEC students and postdocs. Wrapping up the day is a BREW session / social hour.

MRSEC Retreat Schedule Friday, November 21, 2014

11:15-12:15 pm Gerstenzang 121 (Talks: Avi Rodal & Zvonimir Dogic) “Membrane Based Materials”
12:30-1:30 pm Shapiro Campus Center 236, 2nd Floor (Lunch)
1:30-2:30 pm Shapiro Campus Center Theater, 1st Floor (Talks: Fiodar Hilitski, Adam Johnston, Ye Zhang)
2:30-4:30 pm Shapiro Campus Center Art Gallery 317, 3rd Floor (BREW: Denise LeBlanc, Steve DeCamp)
BREW: Brainstorming Research Education Workshop. We will identify the most exciting research conducted by the MRSEC and design a hands-on activity to be presented at the Acton Discovery Museum that is suitable for 4 – 8 year old children and their parents.

Greater Boston Area Statistical Mechanics Meeting, Nov 8

Brandeis will host the 16th annual Greater Boston Area Statistical Mechanics Meeting (GBASM) on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, from 9:30-3:00. GBASM is a workshop that brings together researchers interested in statistical mechanics, nonlinear dynamics, condensed matter physics, biophysics, and related topics for a day of presentations and discussions.  The meeting consists of four invited talks (30 min.), and a larger number of contributed “table talks”.

The four invited speakers for this year are:

The contributed talks will follow the format we adopted last year. Instead of three minute talks with a limited time for questions, contributors will give a brief announcement of their work in the lecture hall. We will then move to the adjacent room where each contributor will sit at a table with their laptop or tablet and discuss their research with interested participants. This format will eliminate the expense associated with posters and provide greater feedback to contributors. The time preparing for a “table talk” should be similar to preparing for a short talk.

The cost of the meeting is subsidized by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Brandeis University; the Department of Physics, Boston University; the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Harvard University. Thanks to these subsidies, bagels, coffee, tea, and lunch will be provided at no cost if you register by the deadline of Saturday, Nov. 1.

More information   |  Registration

 

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