Congratulations to our four GRCC Biology Students!

Three GRCC Biology students were awarded Undergraduate Research Grants for the Environment (URGE) at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute (PCCI), namely, Jim Jensen, Lindsey Cnossen, and Melena Grady. Their faculty mentors will be professors Pam Laureto and Matt Douglas. These students will be working on various research projects at PCCI for a 12-week period over the summer. A fourth GRCC Biology student, Cassie Ruso, is the first ever community college student to be awarded the Gordon Art Fellowship at PCCI. She will be working on a 10-week project that integrates both art and science and professor Paul Krieger will be serving as her mentor.

For more details, please see this link: http://www.cedarcreekinstitute.org/grants.html

Biology professor’s artwork featured in exhibit

Paul Krieger, Professor of Biology, had three pieces of his artwork accepted into the upcoming art exhibition – Fourth Coast Illuminated.

This art exhibit is organized by the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI) and will feature over 55 scientific illustrations from 40 different artists across the Great Lakes region at the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Glen Vista Gallery. The exhibit runs this summer from July 1 – August 30.

Students Making an Impact at Immaculate Heart of Mary School

Sarah Krajewski’s Biology 101 for Elementary Educators (BI 101E) class has partnered with Immaculate Heart of Mary School (IHM) in a service learning experience as part of the Armen Awards. GRCC students are challenged to not only learn the biology content but also to transfer what they learned into age appropriate lesson plans for early elementary or middle school children including a lesson on owls, the life cycle of a bean plant and DNA, DNA extraction, and DNA fingerprinting.

Professor Krajewski stated that this service learning project has been a wonderful partnership. The GRCC students were given an authentic teaching experience and an opportunity to meet and get feedback from professionals in the field of education. This experience has enhanced the IHM science curriculum because it provided the students with an opportunity to engage in a laboratory experience with lab equipment that would normally not be available.

Save the date: Friday, April 25th from 3-5pm.

Come hear the results of this years Armen Awards and support the great work being done by faculty and students in our community.

BI101E and IHM_1

BioDiversity Club marks Darwin Day

On February 15 2014, the GRCC BioDiversity Club celebrated Darwin Day 2014 by co-sponsoring a community event which featured hands-on science activities for all ages.  Forty-eight children and their families attended the three-hour event.  Dr. Matt Douglas and Dr. Pam Laureto, GRCC biology faculty and co-advisors for the Club, worked with the Center for Inquiry and 15 GRCC student volunteers to organize and host the event.  The students lead exhibits that featured such topics as a fossil hunt, exploring human evolution, the diversity of plant life and animal life, the pros of bacteria in yogurt, extracting DNA, the unifying molecule of life, from wheat germ, and exploring plant-insect interactions.  Dr. Bob Luenk and Laurie Foster, GRCC biology faculty, helped to oversee the event.

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Honors biology students discuss book over breakfast

Biology professor Laurie Foster recently hosted an Honors Biology breakfast, where they discussed Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

The book explores the history of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer known to scientists as HeLa. Her cells — taken without her knowledge in 1951 — became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization and more. While her cells have been bought and sold by the billions, she remains virtually unknown, and her family still lives in poverty.

Students engaged in a rich discourse about the collision of ethics, race and medicine. This is a story that is forever connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, and the birth of bioethics.

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Biology professor completes second edition of human physiology book

Paul Krieger, Professor of Biology, just completed authoring and illustrating the second edition of his book entitled A Visual Analogy Guide to Human Physiology. This is part of a successful four-book series Paul created with Morton Publishing beginning eleven years ago. The new edition will be printed in December and will be available in both in print and ebook formats beginning in January 2014.

Faculty Lecture Monday Afternoon

An announcement from Jeremy Osborn, of the Center for Teaching Excellence: During this busy time of year, I wanted to let you know about a great opportunity to take a break and celebrate the excellent research of one of your colleagues. On Monday (November 18) from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in 333 Calkins, Matt Douglas, Professor of Biological Sciences will offer a presentation on the wildlife of Costa Rica, Panama, and Tanzania. The presentation is sure to be full of fascinating information and great photos of butterflies, frogs, giraffes, baboons, elephants, lions, and many other species. There’s no need to RSVP–just show up. As an added bonus, refreshments will also be provided!

Have a great weekend, and we hope to see you on Monday!

GRCC hosts STEM Girl Genius Conference

On November 2nd, Grand Rapids Community College hosted 205 fifth- to eighth-grade girls from all over Michigan in an experiential Science+ Technology + Engineering + Math (STEM) Girl Genius Conference.

The day-long conference was designed to encourage young women to seek careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Provost Gilda Gely began the event by welcoming the participants to Grand Rapids Community College and introducing Elyse Kleifgen, optometry student at Ferris State University, who gave the opening address.

Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to carry out hands-on engineering activities and engage with women in STEM field careers, including Dr. Julie Davis Turner, assistant dean at the Van Andel Institute Graduate School; Leigh Kleinert, GRCC biology professor; Linda Bramble, GRCC chemistry professor; and Leigh Eriks, Catholic Central HS chemistry teacher. The participants also had the opportunity to have lunch with women who are engineering and science professionals who work at companies including GE Aviation, Gentex Corp. and the Van Andel Institute.

Many professional women from GRCC also participated, including Kathy Roberts, Tari Mattox, Patricia Dockham, Amy Kudrna, Laurie Chesley, Jodi Dickerson, Laurie Foster, Kate Kryger, and Jan Colvin. Pam Scott, Leah VanHartesveldt and Jennifer Batten worked with the community partners to prepare for the event.

The STEM Girl Genius Conference is in its third year and is a collaborative effort between Fifth Third Bank, Kettering University, the Catholic Secondary School Foundation and Grand Rapids Community College.

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Science and Math Advising Days October 14 and 15

Students thinking about, or well on their way to, a degree in math, physical science or biological sciences should plan to attend the
Science and Math Advising Days October 14 and 15, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days, on the third floor of the Science Building. Faculty from each department will be on hand to discuss a career in math or science, and provide advice on degree and transfer programs. For more information, click here.

Science and Math Advising Days October 14 and 15

Students thinking about, or well on their way to, a degree in math, physical science or biological sciences should plan to attend the
Science and Math Advising Days October 14 and 15, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days, on the third floor of the Science Building. Faculty from each department will be on hand to discuss a career in math or science, and provide advice on degree and transfer programs. For more information, click here.

Science and Math Advising Days October 14 and 15

Students thinking about, or well on their way to, a degree in math, physical science or biological sciences should plan to attend the
Science and Math Advising Days October 14 and 15, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days, on the third floor of the Science Building. Faculty from each department will be on hand to discuss a career in math or science, and provide advice on degree and transfer programs. For more information, click here.

Former GRCC Biodiversity Student Exhibits Artprize Entry At GRAM

Brandy Van Zalen

Brandy Van Zalen

Brandy Van Zalen, former biodiversity student of Grand Rapids Community College and a recent graduate of GVSU, has been selected to exhibit her artwork entitled Pollen of the Great Lakes at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for the Artprize Competition, 2013.

Pollen of the Great Lakes is a series of four canvases (40 x 40) illustrating the unparalleled biodiversity and intricate beauty of tree pollen found in the Great Lakes Region. Each pollen grain depicted was created by hand-carving blocks of the actual microscopic pollen grains that were then printed with ink followed by heat embossment powders and glitters.  The powders and sparking glitters enhance the incredible three-dimensional aspects of each pollen grain.

Brandy is committed to revealing the intricacies of the natural landscape as an educational and artistic expression of her love for the intersection and connection of nature and art.  In Pollen of the Great Lakes she reveals the microscopic “Art of Nature” that is the foundation of the Earth’s reproductive and transformational potential.”

Like an artist, each pollen grain is an individual creation—no two alike—all adrift in a sea of hopeful serendipity.  But although cast on the fate of the winds, the result of this airborne pollen excess provides the underpinning of future life, ecosystem stability, and the continual remodeling of the landscape. The amazing three-dimensional diversity of tree pollen is just one portal to an unseen world awash with microscopic wonders. Pollen grains are the mobile, but fragile pioneers that define the very nature of life on Earth.  They are every bit as phenomenal as the trees that produce them and give us eternal hope for the greening of our landscape.

Brandy is currently an independent artist who illustrates children’s books authored by Dr. Matthew Douglas of GRCC. These books (Mattie the Monarch, Buddy the Buzzbomber, Zoe the Blue and Velcro) explore family values through the use of scientifically accurate animal life.  Brandy strives for connections between the fine arts, the literary world, and the natural sciences. Their children’s books have been featured on EightWest, local media, and are sold at the Frederik Meijer Garden, Schuler Books, Pooh’s Corner, and a number of other venues such as the John Ball Zoo and Blandford Nature Center.