science mentors

#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. 


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.

Keep reading

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. 


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?


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. 


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


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. 

Adventures In Teaching

Teaching kindergarten can be really stressful, especially when it comes to the subject of religion. Some things are easy to deflect. For  example, a couple of weeks ago we were in the science lab and my mentor teacher basically hands me the reigns when we’re doing science lab so I was talking to the children about Earth and the seasons and how Earth started out straight up and down but got hit by a big space rock (this was before it had even finished cooling enough for life to be a thing) and that tilted it on its axis, giving us seasons. One of the kids asked the age old question, “Where did Earth come from?” My mentor teacher looked super freaked out but I just said, “That’s a question that people have been trying to answer for a long, long time. It’s hard to know for sure because none of us were there.” The child was satisfied with my answer and no one pried any more into that line of questioning  so it was easy to avoid a sticky situation.

Yesterday, three of the students were talking during a transition time (we were having them go from their desks to the rug to start in on a different subject) and one said, “God is watching us” which, in and of itself wasn’t much to be concerned about but then, after some words from one of the other children (which I didn’t hear) she said, “No, God can see everything we do” and I could see it turning into an argument really quickly. I was kind of torn about what to do though. On the one hand, it didn’t feel like my place to tell them they shouldn’t really be talking about God in a public school environment but, on the other hand, it is my job as a public school teacher to not create an environment that favors any one religion over another. I ended up doing a general call-back (where I say “And a hush fell over the crowd” and all of the kids say “A hush!” and then stop talking) to get the whole room quiet.

I totally support people’s rights to practice whatever religion they want and teach their kids about it but I wish more people would also teach their kids at a young age that different people believe different things and that’s okay.

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!

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:

anonymous asked:

I'm pretty good with dealing with failure, but I think its starting to get to me. I was rejected by a string of universities last year for my undergraduate studies and I was ok with it, although it took it's toll. Today, I found out that the health mentorship program I was looking at also rejected me. Im not one for self-pity, but I am starting to feel that my dream to become a surgeon might not be enough to let me pursue a medical career. How do you get over this fear?

I can relate so much to this question…seriously this sounds like almost verbatim what I went through as a freshman in college, just replace surgery with ID and you’ve got my story (I promise to delve more into this when I finally get around to writing that origins story). I just want to give you a giant hug and promise it’ll be okay and that you WILL make it. That dream is enough so long as you use it as motivation to keep taking the necessary steps towards achieving it. Above all it will take patience and self-forgiveness. I beat myself up for years afterwards, especially because I saw what my classmates from high school were doing with their lives at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc. (I attended the top high school in my state, which was also in the top 50 nationally) and then here I was, having worked just as hard as them, sitting at my last choice college for undergrad. I was admitted to a few other middle-tier places but couldn’t afford them, and my state school offered me a full ride and thensome in stipends. At the time I felt like I was more or less selling out and during my freshman year I felt like an idiot because I’d made that decision instead of taking out loans and going somewhere else. I was so bitter and really just oscillated between being sad and angry/frustrated for most of my first two years of undergrad. Similarly, I didn’t get into the SMDEP program the summer after my freshman year (jokes on them though because I got into several medical schools…bwahaha…okay sorry for the mildly vindictive laugh, but just know that you too will be able to look back and do that same. Not all is lost). Long story made short, a bunch of other stuff happened, and before I knew it, I was spiraling into a deep depression during my sophomore year. 

I just remember this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that kept whispering doubts to me, saying I would never win so why even try. I felt like I was doomed to repeatedly have doors closed in my face and there was little I could do about it. Whatever you do, do not surrender your sense of self-efficacy to the fear and any feelings of doubt and inadequacy. Keep an eye on your “self-talk” aka that mental dialogue that runs in the background of your day. I was ripping my self-confidence to shreds on a daily basis with my negative self-talk. If you catch yourself berating your sense of self worth and identity for failing a test or not achieving x like so and so, just mentally yell “STOP!”, try to refocus your thoughts on your positive attributes, and try to find ways to improve upon yourself; make that self-criticism constructive.

I also found it really helpful just to talk to someone about this fear. In my positive psychology class, we had small-group meetings based on our “thriving goals” for ourselves. Mine had to do with my severe lack of self-confidence and feelings of helplessness in regards to having control over my life at times (which created a ton of anxiety and fear). One day my group leader looked at me and asked what my biggest fear was, and more or less I said living an unfulfilled life without some sense of meaning, which at the time I personally equated with me becoming a physician, because I wanted that so badly and had linked part of my identity to that. Then she asked why being a physician, and I said because devoting my time to helping others gave me a sense of purpose for my life (I’m not religious, but this is about as close to it as I get). Then she looked at me and said, “There are lots of ways to help people. Can’t you help people without being a physician? What if that wasn’t an option?” I’m fairly certain that I looked at her dumbfounded for a moment or two as I grappled with that. I admitted, “Well…yes. I guess I’d just find some other way to help, like public health or nursing or researching cures for diseases…” And then she said, “You don’t have anything to be afraid of then.” As silly as that story may sound, admitting the possibility of “failure,” and knowing I had the ability to still be fulfilled even if one door was closed to me was incredibly freeing. Often times we have to let go of the fear and focus on something ultimately more important in order to overcome it. Also sometimes simply sharing your fears and realizing that other people (especially other premeds) have them too can be reassuring and provide some extra support. 

Lastly, I would suggest finding small tasks you know you’re good at and slowly building up in order to boost your sense of self-efficacy and self-confidence right now. Both of those are essential for motivating yourself to move past fear and to start taking risks again, like applying to more programs or asking professors for a research position, etc. When I was trying to dig myself out of the “risk-taking paralysis” of my depression during sophomore year, I made myself apply for 3 study abroad scholarships and leveraged my strengths (I was a science fair nerd in high school and did really well at state and international levels) by signing up for a science fair mentoring program for middle school kids. It made me drag my butt out of bed on the occasional Saturday morning (which was good b/c at my worst moments I’d lay in bed half the day unable to compel myself to do anything) and held me accountable for improving myself. Helping them and being a role model for them boosted my confidence too because they looked up to me and asked for my advice and direction–I had something to offer, to contribute. Remember to leverage your strengths! Give yourself credit for your accomplishments and use that boost to remind yourself of what you are capable of! 

I hope this helped a bit, and I wish you all the best. I have faith in you!

P.S. Forget that mentorship program and find your own surgeon to follow! Network or cold call/email local doctors, especially those at teaching hospitals…the worst they can say is no (and then you call the next one…and the next one). 

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

Keep reading


Meet Ian & Marly, 6th grade students from Pachappa Elementary School.  They’re participants in the Science Mentors Program and are studying the effects of varying nutrients on fresh water gastropods.

Pro-tip for you Science people out there

Make friends with one of your science teachers. They will write you letters of rec. You will meet their cute kids. They will help you when the school you work for does not tell you you need to set up class labs all on your own. They will be excited for you when you get into grad school. Basically they are fantastic. I need to bake my own mentor lab teacher a cake. She’s just fantastic


Meet Gavriela Carver, a participant in the Museum’s Science Research Mentoring Program. As a high school junior she spends up to four hours each week during the school year working in a Museum science lab.

Learn more about this mentorship program.


Carl Sagan responding to a Creationist. As demonstrated in this video: Carl’s patience and willingness to explain science down to the most complex degree on a topic such as evolution, which requires much more than a simple 30-second-elevator-style approach.

Also demonstrated: the manifest nonsense of Creationists’ unparalleled ignorance and unwillingness to be civil and listen to a man who they called in to speak with and with whom they were about to receive a genuine intellectual response. Nothing has changed. Sorry (not sorry) apologetics, but Biblical scripture is the host by which the mental virus of fundamentalism and indoctrination thrives.

It’s easy to see why Bill Nye approached Ken Ham the way he did and communicated scientific knowledge in a manner that would make Carl Sagan - Bill’s former professor - a proud mentor.

Learn to teach Earth and space science in New York City through the Master of Arts in Teaching Urban Residency Program at the American Museum of Natural History; the first urban teacher residency program offered by a museum.

  • Full-time 15 month program with stipend
  • Small class sizes and one-on-one mentoring
  • Science coursework at a world-class museum
  • Learn to teach in a supportive nurturing environment
  • Work alongside scientists and urban teachers
  • Graduate with real-world teaching experience
  • Ongoing professional support following graduation

Share your passion for science and learning. Learn more on our website, or during a webinar on Wednesday, January 14.

anonymous asked:

Hi <3 I'm an undergrad and i love learning and science so much. i was planning on going to grad school right after i graduate. But i'm really scared because on tumblr i never hear anything good about it. it honestly sounds like hell and i stopped being able to imagine surviving it. i don't want to hate science and i don't want to hate learning and knowledge. will it do that to me?

I’m sorry this has taken a few days to respond to!  I wanted to think about this one and give a good response.  Still not sure if this is one, but here goes.

First I feel like I should disclose this question kind of breaks my heart, and it’s hard to separate that from my answer.  I always want to encourage people to science.  I love mentoring young students and try to keep in touch with all of the undergrads I’ve supervised in lab over the years.  I want people to be engaged in science, because we need it.

I also want to stop and make the point that you don’t need to go to graduate school to keep loving, learning, and doing science.  A PhD can get you access to positions and careers you can’t get with a BS, definitely, so I strongly encourage undergrads who are thinking about going to graduate school spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to do with the degree.  You don’t have to carve that in stone, but you should think about (and invest in) your goals.

I’m not going to sugar-coat the graduate school experience, and it sounds like you’ve heard your share of stories on tumblr about bad programs, bad advisors, bad projects, and the general malaise of the middle-year graduate student.

But please don’t start thinking you won’t make it before you’ve even started!  It is tough.  It’s not always fun.  It’s also impossible to predict what your particular experience will be like.  Some days I am in the mentality that grad school is something I survived, especially in the context of my first two years.  But most days I think of grad school as something I beat.  I battled through.  I finished.  I accomplished.

If you know grad school is what you want to do, then I’d encourage you to think about what, specifically, you think might trip you up.  I don’t know your situation, so it’s hard to give realistic advice beyond this point.  But once you’ve identified those specifics, consider what you can do about them.  Get advice on these things from grad students you know (even us on the interwebs).

If it’s just a generic fear of failure (I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m not cut out for this), you’re not alone.  You’re probably in the majority.  You have to sort of get used to the feeling, and practice being able to ignore it.  True story: my first year of grad school I fucked up something in the lab pretty bad and was crying on the phone with an older grad student that I was a failure and was going to quit grad school. Luckily she was supportive and encouraging and a little bit of Real Talk about how ridiculous I was being, and I did not quit grad school.  Those failure fears never really disappeared entirely, but you learn to deal with them and accept they’re actually kind of normal and having those thoughts doesn’t mean they’re true.

Even with a bad experience, I don’t think you’ll come out of it hating science, learning, or knowledge.  Those are pretty fundamental qualities that will drive you in life regardless.  You might not like benchwork or benchwork in the context of academic research after grad school, but that doesn’t equate with hating science.  Even at my bottom point of grad school, when I really hated my project and just wanted to be done, I still liked science, and the cool things that were being done (though true confession I was unreasonably bitter about people’s projects that had worked).

Science isn’t just the physical work at a bench that goes into it.  There are a lot of ways to be involved in science, in learning, that aren’t benchwork.  I made a post a while ago about all the different ways you can science that don’t require you to be in an academic lab at a bench.  These are all important parts of the Science Infrastructure that we need to science.  These are important things to think about when considering your goals and what you want out of grad school.

So, that was super long and obviously I have a lot of feels, but I hope it’s helpful.

It’s the weekend, and we’re blasting off! Will you be looking for the Perseid Meteor Shower? Amateur astronomers will find lots to do in the Museum this weekend. 

Here are some cool stories from the past week:

Have a great weekend!

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.