Posts in Education
Lightning Talks and an Evening Walk

After working with the Fairchild Challenge and having had a very non-linear path towards science, I saw a unique opportunity to connect high school students with current graduate students. My experience as someone with a desire to pursue a career in science while not necessarily knowing how to go about it prompted me to create and host the Lightning Talks and Evening Walk student workshop. Last week was Fairchild’s second annual event where 30 high school students had the opportunity to hear from six graduate students from FIU and UM about their path to science.

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Stories of Science—Haydee Borrero

I met Haydee Borrero when I came to visit Miami in 2014. She asked me if I had ever been to the Everglades and when I said no she said “I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 5am”. It was a magical morning. I am happy to call her my friend to this day. This past year we traveled to Cuba together twice since our field sites overlapped. Haydee has had an interesting path is now doing some really cool work as part of her PhD.

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Summer Interns

Two interns were selected from a pool of applicants to work along side me and learn the molecular techniques that have been the basis of my Ph.D. research. They learned how to extract plant DNA from leaves, use PCR to target specific gene regions, Cycle Sequencing to get the DNA sequence of the targeted gene region and were introduced to next-generation sequencing.

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Stories of Science—Tracy Commock

For the last two weeks, we have had a very special visitor at FIU and FTBG, Tracy Commock, Director of the Natural History Museum of Jamaica. I met Tracy, a fellow botanist, in 2014 and she has since become a great colleague and friend. Tracy has been paramount in developing a collaboration between UWI and FIU through an inter-institutional official agreement already in place between these two universities. I took her out for ice cream and we chatted about life as a botanist in Jamaica.

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Being a botanist

Most people know that botany is the study of plants, but what does it actually mean to be a botanist? For me, studying plants means inspecting the subtle and sometimes grandiose differences between species. Documenting life on Earth as it is increasingly threatened is imperative in my opinion. If we don’t know what exists in an area, how can we properly implement conservation strategies to preserve Earth’s beautiful biodiversity?

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The Fairchild Challenge Fellowship

I have a unique graduate fellowship through the Education Department at Fairchild where I help run the Fairchild Challenge Program. The Fairchild Challenge is a multidisciplinary science competition that schools participate in across South Florida. Challenges are designed with the goal of reaching a large diversity of students. All challenges ask students to research and observe the natural world around them. We have three citizen science challenges that span all three levels and engage students in real authentic research opportunities which otherwise lack from standard classroom settings.

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