First Outreach Science Café recently hosted by Marshall students, ASBMB, and Cabell Midland High School

Marshall’s Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Student Organization (GSO), in collaboration with the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and Cabell Midland High School, recently hosted the first Outreach Science Café at Marshall’s Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center. The intent of this event was to advocate scientific literacy, increase awareness for funding, and promote scientific interest among our youth. A total of 23 students from Cabell Midland High School attended this event, which highlighted two key graduate programs: the BMS and Forensic Science programs. Each program provided a unique perspective as well as a “hands-on” interactive session.

Synopsis: Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. and M.S.

To facilitate a sense of excitement and opportunity, the BMS program focused on providing four unique perspectives of the BMS Program. First, Mrs. Diana Maue, Program Recruitment and Communication Coordinator, presented the overall goal of the BMS program, as well as the vast research and career opportunities available to students. Dr. Maria Serrat, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology, followed by giving an account of how she became fascinated with her field of interest (the effects of the environment and temperature on bone growth),  and what the BMS program can provide to future research scientists. Finally, second year Ph.D. student Kristeena Ray, and Ph.D. candidate M. Allison Wolf, spoke about what led them to act on their passion for science, and what it is like to pursue a doctorate in biomedical sciences at Marshall University.


Next, the students were divided into two groups for “hands-on” interactive sessions, which were graciously led by Richard Egleton, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, and Wei-ping Zeng, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology. The purpose of these sessions was to provide participants with a unique opportunity to participate in various research-related angles of the BMS Program.

“I think the science café was an excellent opportunity for me to interact with high school students. This kind of event is a very good way to spark an interest in science and hopefully after this, these students will want to pursue science as undergraduates.” said Dr. Egleton when asked about the importance of the ASBMB Outreach Café. Similarly, Dr. Zeng agreed on the importance stating that “it exposes the younger generation to scientific research and ideas.”

Synopsis: Forensic Science, M.S.

Following the Biomedical Sciences graduate program section, participants heard from Dr. Graham Rankin, Professor of Forensic Science, on behalf of the Forensic Science master’s program at Marshall University. Students subsequently ventured to the Crime Scene House, located near campus, and were given a tour. High school students learning about crime scene evidence in Marshall's Forensic Science Crime Scene HouseThere, they used crime scene investigation equipment, and were shown how different evidence (e.g. latent fingerprints, footwear impressions, forensic photography, etc.) can be analyzed to help solve crimes.

When asked about the overall response from the students, Ms. Myriaha Selbee, a collaborator and teacher at Cabell Midland High School, stated “I heard nothing but positive remarks from my students” and that she was “very impressed with the amount of professional support that was allotted to my students.” She hopes that future ASBMB Outreach Cafés will keep Cabell Midland High School in mind.

Additionally, one participant went on to say that “this is a wonderful program and I would love to continue coming. I have taken away information about the program and other career options.”

Overall, the ASBMB Outreach Café was a wonderful success. Future events will be aimed at further diversifying our target population, and breaking out the café into more specific areas of interest.