Research Report 2019_20


own home. Each week during summer 2020, new ac- tivities and materials lists were posted to the website. The activities each week reflected a new scientific top- ic, ranging from protein folding and structure to back- yard biology to digestive enzymes. Although many pro- grams are being delivered virtually, some students do not have access to the tools necessary to access these programs. To help fill this gap, the Educational Outreach team has been making socially-distanced visits to ru- ral public middle and high school classrooms across North Alabama, taking select HudsonAlpha-developed activities directly to the students.

present educational landscape is important for the un- interrupted training of the next generation of scientists who could be on the frontlines of future pandemics or health crises.

Neil Lamb, PhD and Jennifer Carden at Genomics and Java

The Educational Outreach team also smooth- ly transitioned some of its in-person public outreach learning events to safe, virtual programs. Hudson- Alpha Spark is a public outreach program that highlights the ground-breaking discoveries occurring on Hudson- Alpha’s campus while exploring the real-world applica- tion of those discoveries. Spark programs like Genom- ics and Java were offered virtually during the pandemic and give participants the experience of learning about cutting-edge research in a casual, comfortable environ- ment. New Spark content is being offered both as live and on-demand virtual experiences. In order to keep the community abreast of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 news, Lamb seamlessly tran- sitioned his well-read blog, Shareable Science , into a video format called Shareable Science: Beyond the Blog. Clocking in at just five to ten minutes per episode, Lamb presents timely, credible information about the COVID-19 pandemic in a format that is both entertaining and easily understood by every audience no matter their scientific savvy. This freely-available resource has al- ready logged more than 100,000 views since it began in late March 2020 ( see page 45 for topics ). The once-week- ly videos deliver factual, scientific-based information related to topics people often viewed on the news or the internet that same week, such as symptoms and test- ing, best practices to stay healthy during the pandemic, vaccine development, monoclonal antibodies, and SARS-CoV2 strains and mutations. n

Most recent LABS cohort

While most educational content can be delivered virtually, skill-based learning is most effective using hands-on instruction. With this in mind, HudsonAlpha’s Educational Outreach team has implemented safety precautions within their educational spaces to mini- mize risks of on-campus student participation in the Institute’s workforce development programs. Several programs were able to take place on campus during the fall of 2020 with modified in-person meetings. These programs included LABS (Launching Aspiring Biotech- nology Scientists) , the after-school lab skills program for high school students and PORTALS (Principles of Research Techniques and Lab Skills) , the undergrad- uate research experience. In both of these programs, students are given the real-world experience of working independently in a laboratory setting at HudsonAlpha. The ability to safely continue these programs amidst the

2019-20 Research Report 51

Made with FlippingBook - Online magazine maker