With over 460 mathletes and 80 coaches across 54 schools, the attendance of 600 parents, and 100 resourceful volunteers, the 37th Annual Northern Virginia Regional MATHCOUNTS competition was a resounding success! Special thanks to the STEM Accelerator Learning Assistants for volunteering to make this another great event!
Sponsored by the GMU Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences and the Northern Virginia Mineral Club, George Mason University is once again playing host to the Annual Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show! From November 23-24 located in Dewberry Hall of the Johnson Center, come see demonstrations, exhibits, related to geology, mineralogy, lapidary arts and related sciences as well as participate in mini-mines for children to dig in and get free fossils and minerals. Over 20 Dealers with Fossils, Minerals, Crystals and Gems for sale!
Visit this link for tickets and more information! https://www.novamineralclub.org/events/2019-show
Today’s closing ceremony marked the end of another successful two week long event of the College of Science and STEM Accelerator’s FOCUS (Female of Color Underrepresented in STEM) Camp. After days of being inspired through the participation of many scientific activities, our girls ended on a high note through poster presentations to their parents on polaroid light, arthropods, tornadoes, 3D printing and other topics in STEM. In addition, there were group powerpoint presentations praising various famous women in the field of science for their achievements and struggles in the field. Awards were handed out as well as some surprise gummies to our amazing FOCUS counselors by the junior counselors!
The closing ceremony was also honored by the presence of Sasha A. Alston (@thestemqueen) who authored the acclaimed children’s novel, “Sasha Loves to Code”.
Thank you everyone from our faculty to the parents and participants for making FOCUS fantastic every year!
Starting off with an icebreaker where the participants had to order themselves based on their birthday without speaking or moving their lips, the FOCUS (Females of Color Underrepresented in STEM) camp for rising 6th-8th graders kicked off their week long event of science activities and experiences! Today, the girls began their journey with hands on labs involving biological organisms without backbones and extraction of DNA.
Meanwhile, the ASSIP (Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program) high school scholars working on mathematical models with Dr. Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, Dr. Carmen Caiseda, and graduate student Andy Hoang presented introductions into topics encompassing various aspects of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Such subjects used the basis of the SIR model for the spread of diseases and included encouraging composting in urban and rural environments, analyzing the opioid epidemic, conversion of the food consumption and waste models for energy consumption, and the interactions of growing student loan and people in debt.
2019 FOCUS Academy Participants with President Cabrera, Katherine Johnson family
and the co-founders of the FOCUS program Kelly Knight and Padhu Seshaiyer
On June 19, 2019, Bull Run Hall at GMU’s Science and Tech Campus in Prince William county was renamed to Katherine G. Johnson Hall for her accomplishments at NASA. Thanks to her calculations of orbital mechanics, the American space program was able to achieve success with the first manned space flights as well as many more to follow, including the rendezvous paths for the Apollo lunar lander and command module on flights to the Moon. Her historic contributions were depicted in “Hidden Figures” where Taraji P. Henson portrayed her as the lead character.
Although Johnson, 100, was unable to attend, her daughters, Katherine Moore and Joylette Hylick, and grandson, Troy Hylick, were present to accept the honor.
Echoing Johnson’s drive to overcome institutional racism and sexism and to inspire future generations of scientists, assistant professor Kelly Knight of the Forensic Science Program and the STEM Accelerator outreach coordinator was also in attendance along with the 2019 FOCUS (Females of Color Underrepresented in STEM) Academy students.
“The building’s naming means that inspiring the many coming behind her could ultimately be Johnson’s greatest legacy… This is a reminder to young people of color. We too, deserve to have a seat at the STEM table,” Knight said.
In celebration of our hardworking company of 90+ Learning Assistants, the Accelerator department held a poster session which details various methods into improving STEM education for the students of George Mason University! With about 60 posters, each LA group showcased techniques designed to inspire techniques to both fellow peers and professors alike.
On April 25th, 2019, the College of Science hosted the 9th annual Undergraduate Research Colloquium organized by the STEM Accelerator and Dr. Rebecca Jones as its head coordinator. Of the 35 impressive presentation entries, 7 took home prestigious prizes and we would like to congratulate the following!
Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award
“Targeting the ESKAPE pathogens: Kinetic characterization and inhibition of Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae 1-Deoxy-D-Xylulose 5-Phosphate Reductoisomerase” – Mosufa Zainab, Haley Ball, Misgina Girma, Nora Riley, Cynthia Dowd, Schroeder Noble, Robin Couch
Students’ Choice Award
“Active listening Firearm Detection” – Ephraim Ayeni, Daniel Sovine, Kumnit Nong
Best Life Science
“Effect of Rose Bengal on NMDA Receptor Activity” – Karen Therrien, Nathalia Peixoto
Best Physical Science
“Expanding Linear Discriminant Analysis to Continuous Output” – Josh Westhoven and Tyrus Berry
“Testing novel antimicrobial peptides against Francisella strains” – Katherine Polk, Christopher Hitt, Monique van Hoek
“Development and study of isothermal microcalorimeters” – Angelica Frederick and Dr. Abul Hussam
“Testing twitching motility in Pseudomonas aeruginosa (known) and Burkholderia thailandensis (unknown)” – Jessica Portillo, Brittany Heath, Monique van Hoek
This year, we also had a Mentor of Excellence Award which went to Dr. Joris van der Ham.
Again, congratulations to all our poster presenters! Please see the images below for the rest of the gallery from the event.