Accomplishments & Events
2022-2023 Outreach Activities
UPWARDS trainees Saman Nekoobahr and Ashley Garcia teamed up and gave an informative and interactive presentation on Gel Electrophoresis. Attendees to the Science Night event were taught about this lab technique used to separate mixtures of DNA, RNA, or proteins according to molecular size. For the experiment, Saman and Ashley used food coloring to show each color dye’s molecular specific size and charge which was easily identifiable for the audience members. Ashley and Saman used a power point presentation and lab equipment to conduct the gel electrophoreses demonstration. In the interest of time, the team recorded the experiment and then showed a time laps video of dye movement from the negative to positive charge. Furthermore, audience members were able to use their knowledge to solve a mini mystery which was a big hit!
ICE CREAM IN A BAG
Cindy Luong, an UPWARDS trainee, presented how to make ice cream in a bag for the outreach Science Night event. This experiment started off with a mixture of cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Though it first appeared that the team was giving a cooking demonstration rather than a scientific one; the introduction of ice and rock salt changed things. By adding rock salt to a bag of ice, Cindy and her teammate explained and demonstrated the freezing point depression. As the salt melted the ice and lowered the temperature below the freezing point of water, the interior bag of the cream mixture froze. Many audience members got a workout by vigorously shaking the bags to break apart bigger ice crystals and create smaller crystals which distributed the ice cream evenly. Ultimately, visitors to were delighted that the melted ice water refroze resulting in a tasty treat that they enjoyed with their toppings!
Ana Paula Guevera-Sosa and Zara De Leon, UPWARDS trainees, teamed up to demonstrate how to make a lava lamp and the science behind it. More specifically, Zara and Ana taught audience members about density and polarity. Using oil and water, the team explained how oil is less dense than water. Then they added a seltzer tablet which sank because it is denser than oil. Furthermore, Ana and Zara taught the audience about polarity, demonstrating that polar oil and non-polar water do not mix because the different molecules are not attracted to each other. The addition of food coloring dye, the soluble dye didn’t color the oil because the molecules repel each other. The seltzer tablets dissolved and created bubbles of carbon dioxide which clearly showed the lava lamp effect.
HANDWASHING: PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF GERMS
Sarah Alameddine and Khayla Joseph, UPWARDS trainees, teamed up to demonstrate the importance of hand washing as a part of life due to viruses like COVID-19, the flu, the common cold, etc. Science Night audience members learned about the 4 different types of germs (Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, and Protozoa), and how different germs can cause viruses and disease. As part of the demonstration, Sarah and Khayla engaged audience members and students with glo-germ and UV flashlights. Some student/audience members were given the glo-germ and then shook hands with different audience members. The UV flashlight revealed how the germs were spread from one person to the others. Once they were able to cleanse their hands, the UV light revealed that the germs were gone which clearly showed that proper hand washing was a great way to prevent the transmission of germs.
Professional Development Events
Journal Club 2023
UPWARDS trainees attend the monthly CPRIT journal club. During this time, UPWARDS trainees learn about research of the CPRIT Graduate Scholars and TRIUMPH Postdoctoral Fellows present their research.
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT (2021 - 2022)
The NIH R25 UPWARDS program has formed a partnership with a community advocate, Gustavia Pearl’s Outreach. During an scholarship and awards luncheon hosted by Gustaiva’s Pearls on May 1st 2022, trainee Daniel Idowu presented to encourage the 2022 high school graduates who were attending to keep excelling and introducing them to consider STEM careers. Many of the honorees were receiving either scholarship and/or community services awards.
2021-2022 Outreach Activities
Blood Drive and The Science Behind Blood
UPWARDS trainees Rubi Avendano Sanchez and Maria Puche organized a Blood Drive at Houston Baptist University and presented information on dehydration, plasma, platelets, and red blood cell restoration to all participants.
Scientific Method + Chemical Reactions & pH
UPWARDS trainees Raul Caballero Montes, Jene Samuels, and Christopher Trinh delivered a presentation explainig the scientific method and performed two experiements to a seventh grade science class at Albright Middle School. One illustrating the pH of bottled water and the other demonstrating milk spoilage and the formation of casein.
Pathways to Science and College Prep
UPWARDS trainee Daniel Idowu and his faculty mentor, Dr. Richard Behringer, presented to seniors at Mayde Creek High School on different pathways in science and provided tips on how to prepare for college.
Egg Drop Experiment
UPWARDS trainee Codi Mai assisted a group of kids from the Ronald McDonald House of Houston in an egg drop experiment by explaining and illustrating Sir Isaac Newton's law of motion.
Strawberry DNA Extraction
UPWARDS trainee Saman Nekoobahr gave a short talk to a senior science class at Cesar Chavez High School on DNA and the importance of scientifc research and concluded with an scientific demonstration involving the extraction of DNA from a strawberry.
Professional Development Events
Journal Club 2022
In February, our UPWARDS trainees had the opportunity to attend the monthly CPRIT journal club. During this time, the UPWARDS trainees were able to see our CPRIT Graduate Scholars and TRIUMPH Postdoctoral Fellows present their research.