Science Posse Scholars Present Posters July 9 at SSC Atrium

Student at Science Posse Session

On July 9th, incoming Science Posse Scholars will be presenting posters on various research topics including pheromones, computational models of galaxies, and software engineering.  The event will take place in the Shapiro Science Center atrium from 1:30 to 3:00 PM. The 10 scholars are interested in pursuing STEM degrees and will all start here at Brandeis in the fall.

Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Brandeis receives $1 million HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative grant

HHMI logoBrandeis is one of 57 schools to receive a $1 million 5-year grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI’s) Inclusive Excellence Initiative, the aim of which is “to create a community of scientists and science educators engaged in 57 experiments, each experiment aimed at understanding how institutional change with respect to inclusion can be achieved.” Under the direction of Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry and HHMI Professor Irving Epstein, Professor of Biology Melissa Kosinski-Collins and Associate Provost Kim Godsoe, the program has four major thrusts: a) Galaxy, a cohort based program, modeled on Brandeis’s highly successful Science Posse, to provide peer and near-peer support and mentorship for prospective science majors; b) workshops, incorporated into introductory laboratory courses, that address issues such as imposter syndrome, implicit bias and stereotype threat and encourage students to reflect upon the learning environment that they wish to create for themselves and their classmates; c) low-enrollment practicum courses designed to strengthen students’ quantitative skills through project-based research studies; and d) a faculty learning community that will bring together instructors in key courses to grapple with issues that may hamper student performance and retention.  The discussions in b) and d) will be informed by written and oral presentations from students and alumni, who will be asked to reflect on how their preparation and their reception by faculty and other students affected their experience in STEM.  These initiatives will help Brandeis change the culture and climate of how the community perceives all students studying STEM.

A major impetus for this undertaking is the recognition that students in the sciences begin with a wide range of preparation and experience, and that currently retention in science majors is heavily correlated with level of preparation and initial success in introductory courses.  Nationally, only 48% if students entering college with the intention of majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) actually complete a STEM major.  At Brandeis the record is somewhat better, but there is still much room for improvement.  The programs in this initiative are designed to overcome the “sink or swim” mentality that affects many students (and faculty) by making them aware that, with appropriate support and perseverance, all students can succeed in the sciences no matter where they start from, even if the road is rocky at the start.

Brandeis’ Pioneering Science Posse Program

Photo: Mike Lovett

Samia Tamazi ’20

BrandeisNow has posted an article about the history and accomplishments of the Brandeis’ Science Posse program. Read the following excerpt or the entire article:

In June, Macareno and his posse, all Class of 2020, get off Amtrak’s Acela Express train and take a shuttle bus to Brandeis for science boot camp. On the first day, they gather in a classroom in the Abelson physics building […]

(Melissa) Kosinski-Collins, who earned a PhD at MIT, tells them college science is profoundly different from high-school science. With equal parts candor and caring, she sets high expectations, describing the intense workload. The students know that they will be held to lofty standards and that she will support them.

Later in the day, they gather around a long lab table in the Shapiro Science Center, in an area Kosinski-Collins calls Hufflepuff — a nod to one of the houses at Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School. An array of equipment is scattered before them — pipettes, balances, bottles of acetic acid (vinegar) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). There are also aluminum foil, Kimwipes, Scotch tape and Ziploc bags.

The students’ assignment is to build an air bag. When acetic acid combines with sodium bicarbonate, they produce carbon dioxide. The students must figure out how much of each chemical to add to fully inflate a quart-size Ziploc bag. But they also have to protect an egg placed inside the bag. This is where the foil, tape and extra bags come in. Along with the cushion of air, these items can be used to keep the egg from cracking when they drop the bag from the Science Center steps, about 15 feet above the ground.

There’s an important catch. Several months earlier, at a meeting in New York, the students got the same assignment. They also completed lab reports describing the quantities of chemicals they used and how they arranged the materials inside the bag to protect the egg. These lab reports are now handed out to different students. They have 10 minutes to repeat the earlier experiment using the reports as a guide […]

Read more at BrandeisNow

Brandeis Posse at the White House

President Fred Lawrence and Chemistry Professor Irving Epstein visited the White House on March 31 to discuss the Brandeis Science Posse at an event celebrating the expansion of the program to a total of 10 institutions across the country.  Attendees included Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren and other representatives of the executive branch, presidents of the STEM Posse schools, and current and former members of the Brandeis Science Posse.  The program began at Brandeis in 2008 under Epstein’s direction with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

white house 3-31-14

Usman Hameedi ’08 writes about the Science Posse experience

UsmanUsman Hameedi ’08, a member of the first Science Posse at Brandeis, has written about his experience in a piece that recently appeared at Huff Post College. Hameedi, a Biology major, scientist, poet, and aspiring doctor, tells the story of the grand experiment that was the first posse:

Science Posse was new to everyone at Brandeis — the students, the mentors, the faculty and the administration. You could tell there was a lot of interest in making it a success. People wondered: Was this too ambitious? Would this work? […]

Left: Hameedi in his Brandeis days, working in the Thomas Lab.

5th Annual Science Posse Poster Session

Melissa Kosinski-Collins writes:

You are cordially invited to attend the 5th Annual Science Posse Poster Session in the SSC atrium from 1-3 pm on Friday, July 13th.

Come celebrate the arrival and introduce yourself to our newest group of Science Posse Scholars. The scholars will be presenting posters reflecting their research into various topics in the scientific community including global warming, cancer treatment and the retention of women in the sciences.

Drinks and refreshments will be served.

Protected by Akismet
Blog with WordPress

Welcome Guest | Login (Brandeis Members Only)