science mentor

#BlackHistoryMonth #tbt: Being the first African American woman to travel to space is one of Mae Jemison’s many accomplishments. A dancer, Peace Corps doctor, public speaker and astronaut, Mae went to college at age 16, holds 9 honorary doctorates and has founded many STEM-related programs for students. 

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While bears may be the world’s most iconic hibernators, they don’t all hibernate the same way. Even members of the same species, like black bears, differ in their approaches to overwintering, depending on where they live.

In eastern North America, food sources like nuts and berries stay available longer, so black bears in places like New York and New Jersey don’t start hibernating until November or December. But in the southwestern United States, where food sources get scarce earlier, bears can spend as long as six or seven months a year—more than half their lives!—in hibernation.

Before they settle in for a long winter rest, black bears spend the summer and fall in a state known as hyperphagia, chowing down on just about anything they can get their paws on.

“During this period, a bear will eat and eat and eat, all day long,” says Rae Wynn Grant, Doris Duke Conservation Fellow in the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and an educator in the Science Research Mentoring Program.

Read more on the blog.

Gigantic Jupiter-type planet reveals insights into how planets evolve

An enormous young planet approximately 300 light-years from Earth has given astrophysicists a rare glimpse into planetary evolution.

The planet, known as HD 106906b, was discovered in 2014 by a team of scientists from the U.S., the Netherlands and Italy. It is 11 times the mass of Jupiter and is extremely young by celestial standards – not more than 13 million years old, compared with our solar system’s 4.6 billion years.

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How to increase your chances of securing a scholarship

Hi hi hi to add credibility to this post let me just say that I have applied for 4 scholarships, got to the last round (interview) for all 4, and was offered a scholarship by 2 organizations! Um my A levels results was pretty decent, I got 4 As and a C! 

Ok to start:

1. Decide on what you wanna do in the future

Only aim for scholarships in organizations that you are interested in, it will make a difference. Some of the scholarship process will require you to write a short essay on why you want their scholarship, and your passion will show if you’re genuinely interested in it. Don’t just do it for the free education and allowance, do it because you think you can make a difference in the organization. This is for you as much as it is for them. They want a committed dedicated individual, you want a work that is meaningful and enjoyable for you. 

1.5. IF YOU ARE PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE AND STILL HAVE ABOUT 1-2 YEARS LEFT IN SCHOOL - BOLSTER YOUR RESUME

ORGANIZE EVENTS. Companies love this shit! It shows your time management skills, teamwork, determination, ability to think on the spot etcetc. Take up internship or go to events that are relevant your desired organization. If you want to apply for a science related scholarship, enter science fair, volunteer to help your science teachers, volunteer to mentor your younger peers. Anything that shows your passion. If possible, try to apply for internship with your desired organization. This will give you a huge advantage bc you have in-depth knowledge of the organisation. But remember not to screw it up, show hard work and sincerity.

2. Research

After you have narrowed down your scope to selected organizations that you’re interested in, it is now time for you to research on what they do exactly. This will provide you with a better understanding of how the company works, and whether it will be suitable for you. Things to take note of:

Scholarship criteria
Application Deadline (SUPER IMPORTANT)
Scholarship selection process: some just require an essay and interview, others have IQ tests and simulation test, so it’s best to make sure.
Relevant websites and where to apply for scholarships
Documents needed (Do you need testimonials? It is best to inform your teachers early if you require testimonial so that they can craft a nice one for you!!) 

3. Commence application process

Take one whole day, sit down and craft your resume. Find out if there is some scholarship application portal. Note down all your achievements (don’t have to be comprehensive, just major ones in recent years, not the class monitor position you got at 10 year old). Write a short essay talking about yourself and your ambitions. What are your interests and why. How do you think your interests can help your further your career, talk about any role models if it is relevant to the organization. (ie if you are applying for a teaching scholarship maybe you can talk about how your teacher had inspired you greatly etc.) What did you learn from your activities in school, or any setbacks you have encountered that changed you for the better. Remember that the interviewers know that you are just human, 18 or 19 years old. It’s ok to make mistakes and not have super good achievement. They are looking for potential and interest. 

Make sure your essay is crafted to individual company, don’t send the same essay to ALL organizations. Make it detailed, make it relevant! It shows effort and interest. 

4.  Writing essay 

MAKE IT RELEVANT TO THE ORGANIZATION AND YOU. Ok this will help you in both your essay and interview. Talk about why you like the organization and what they stand for, but also point out areas where they can do better AND SUGGEST OPINIONS. Companies are looking for people who will add value to the company, don’t be afraid to offer suggestions that will better their workings. 

Also, since the company is planning to invest tons of money on you they will want to reap the benefits long term. So don’t be afraid to talk about your big ambitions

In one of my interview essay, the question was “where do you see yourself in 15 years time?” and I wrote about how I want to rise to a position influential enough to direct changes. I got that scholarship offer. Don’t be afraid to show your drive, this is what they are looking for. They are not going to spend $50k on your education and expect you to fetch coffee. 

5. Check your application, and double check. Make sure you got all the documents required, check your essay. Get someone to check it. 

6. If you got through the first round, then congratulations! If you didn’t, it’s ok, there are other scholarships! And you can always apply for it during university!

7.  After that, just go with the flow, depending on the number of selection rounds. I had one scholarship application where there were 4 rounds: written essay, IQ test, simulation process, interview. But here are a few tips for the interview, which will definitely happen.

Always be yourself. Make jokes, show your insecurities, show your drive, show your passion.
Even though you are yourself, don’t make jokes at the expense of the company. One time I was asked why should they give me the scholarship and I joked about how they don’t have enough people and they should hire me bc I was present and available. Well guess who didn’t get that scholarship. 

If you have applied for multiple scholarships and interviewers ask you about which is your favourite, ALWAYS PICK THEIR ORGANIZATION. Don’t hint that they are your backup plan, that is the ultimate deal breaker. 

Always research the company, and know what the position you are gunning for entails. Another time I was asked about my job scope and I could not give them a good answer. Well, I didn’t get that scholarship, even though that was my favourite. But I guess I left an impression good enough that they specifically offered me an internship for me to understand the company better, so that I can apply for their scholarship next year. But I have already accepted my current one, which I love too!  

8. Questions to prepare for

Tell me about yourself?
Why should we give you the scholarship?
What do you know about us and the job scope? 
Where do you see yourself in 15 years time?

9. DRESSING

Super no-brainer. You don’t have to be super formal like suit and tie (you’re only what, around 20?) but it has to be formal and decent. Stick to monochrome, or fancier if you’re applying in the arts field, for girls no mini skirt or stilettos or tank top. For guys no polo tee or khaki or slippers, no matter how informal it seems. Show your respect. 

10. GO IN FOR THE KILL, ACE IT

ALWAYS REMEMBER THEY ARE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO FURTHER THEIR COMPANY, IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS, SAY IT. THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR. But don’t say it in a condescending or rude manner, what is more important than innovation is your ability to work with others. Always show that you are an amicable and easy to work with person, but not a pushover. Be fluent, be coherent, be confident. You don’t have to be eloquent (though it helps) but make sure your ideas are communicated clearly. But don’t be a pushover, if they try to make things difficult for you, stay calm. Understand their point of view and evaluate your argument and theirs. Don’t reject theirs totally (unless it’s ludicrous), pick up solid points from their argument and agree with it, then come to a compromise.

11. Tips

DON’T BE LATE
BE POLITE. TO EVERYONE, FROM RECEPTIONIST TO THE COFFEE HELPER OR ANYONE. BE POLITE.
Smile

YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!! 

Via @wnyc: An Icon of the Wild West Becomes a Secret New Yorker

An animal long associated with wilderness is thriving as a city-dweller: coyotes.

The canids showed up in New York state around 1940, and moved into the Bronx just 10 years ago. Slightly larger than their western cousins, northeastern coyotes, or “coywolves,” are thought to have descended from western coyotes who bred with wolves as they expanded their range eastward to avoid hunters in the West.  

For the past five years, the Gotham Coyote Project has been using camera traps triggered by motion and heat, to capture images of the elusive animal in the wild. The team has been able to document coyotes in the Bronx, where several family groups have been established, and a single coyote haunting part of Queens. (There have also been sightings in Manhattan.)

“Very rarely as a wildlife biologist do you ever get to study something happening in real time,” project co-founder Mark Weckel said. “My colleagues and I have the opportunity to look at this emerging story year after year.”

So far one major mystery remains unsolved: how the coyotes get from one borough to another. In other parts of the country, coyotes have been observed using railroad tracks. But Weckel, who’s also the manager of the science research mentoring program at the American Museum of Natural History, says it’s not clear what transportation infrastructure, if any, are being used by the coyotes here. He says they’re pretty strong swimmers, but more likely to cross a bridge if the opportunity avails itself.  

Listen to the interview with Mark Weckel. 

There’s a new Women in STEM hashtag going around on twitter:

Its called #ThankYouSTEMWomen. Its been trending on twitter today.

Where people have been thanking their heroes and women in science in their lives. There are many stories of people being inspired to pursue the sciences because of these mentors or personal heroes. :)

I’ll post a couple screen caps:

Women’s History Month at the Museum

March is Women’s History Month, and we’re looking to our nearly 150-year past, exciting present, and bright future to bring you stories of women in science here at the American Museum of Natural History.

Delia J. Akeley in Kenya, 1905. Courtesy of the Martha Miller Bliven family

In the first few decades of the Museum, which was founded in 1869, several women played important, if informal, roles in developing new types of natural history exhibits to bring the latest science to the public. Museum ornithologist Frank Chapman, who pioneered “habitat group” displays, relied on his wife Fannie while collecting materials in the field. Shortly after their wedding in 1898, Frank discovered to his “mixed astonishment and joy” that Fannie was an excellent specimen preparator, and she became his field assistant. Delia “Mickie” Akeley, wife of explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley who conceived the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, was herself an adventurer and artist. She assisted Carl as he perfected a novel method of taxidermy, and collected specimens on several key expeditions to Africa. And it’s a good thing she did—on a trip in 1909, Delia saved Carl’s life after he was attacked by a bull elephant.

Margaret Mead in her office at the American Museum of Natural History

That same year, herpetologist Mary C. Dickerson—who had published The Frog Book in 1906—became one of four founding curators in the Museum’s Department of Herpetology and Ichthyology. Within 10 years, she laid the foundation for a standalone herpetology department, which formed under her direction in 1920. Another trailblazer, anthropologist Margaret Mead, joined the Museum in 1926, at the age of 25, as an assistant curator. Two years later, she published her best-selling book Coming of Age in Samoa, which introduced readers to the value of looking carefully and open-mindedly at other cultures and is still taught in anthropology classrooms. 

Nearly a century later, the Museum is home to women scientists across all disciplines, as curators and collections managers, researchers and Ph.D. candidates in the Richard Gilder Graduate School, and even as high school students working on research through the Museum’s Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP).

This March, we’ll be profiling women in science across the Museum, so make sure to follow along on the Museum’s social media channels!

Black History Month: Why a career in science?

“I have loved insects since I was 8 years old, when I found them in a vacant lot near my house. The discarded appliances, drug paraphernalia, and overgrown weeds provided various microhabitats, in which lived many kinds of insects. This taught me that you can find wondrous things in even the bleakest of places. I continue to study insects because of a simple truth: terrestrial life is one of the most amazing things to happen in the history of the universe. To fully appreciate that truth, you have to study biodiversity, and entomology is the best way to do so.”

– Ralph Washington, Jr., Ph.D. student, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California, Davis


“I hail from an urban environment but, as a child I was always fascinated with the wild places I saw through images and videos. I was drawn to science for the adventure, which only becomes more thrilling with each new project and skill I acquire. My research interests include: conservation biology, molecular ecology and genomics. My current research explores the consequences of inbreeding on differential gene expression and gene regulation in abnormal sperm production in carnivores. The mechanisms behind abnormal sperm production in wildlife are largely unexplored and are of key concern in conservation breeding to maintain endangered species.”

– Audra Huffmeyer, Ph.D. student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, UCLA

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Right now, more than 100 teen scientists from high schools across New York City are presenting their original research at the 2nd Annual Student Research Colloquium of the NYC Science Research Mentoring Consortium held at the American Museum of Natural History. These students, from grades 10-12, are presenting the results of year-long research projects conducted under the mentorship of scientists from the Museum as part of its Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) or one of its 10 partner institutions.

The Museum’s SRMP program hosts 60 students, supporting the Museum’s mission to provide authentic science experiences that increase students’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Meet one of the SRMP students, Gavriela Carver:

Learn more about the SRMP.