Posted tagged ‘physical sciences’

Physical Sciences hosts STEM event

March 20, 2017

Last month, the Physical Sciences Department hosted a collaborative public outreach event led by faculty and students from GRCC and Van Andel Institute. The event, titled “Fall in Love With STEM” was part of a series of similar events sponsored by the Association of Women in Science West Michigan chapter. The GRCC site featured a unique “Exploration Station” format, where middle-school-aged registrants investigated scientific disciplines across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, making this a true STEM event.

From the Physical Sciences Department, Assistant Professor Ashley Campanali led a station on engineering and Assistant Professor Lauren Woolsey led a station on astronomy. From the Mathematics Department, GRCC student Rachel Swem led her own station on mathematics and game theory. From the Biological Sciences Department, Professor Leigh Kleinert organized a station that was run entirely by the following GRCC students as part of their service learning program: Shelsy DeLeon-Lopez, Afrika Earvin, Alma Garcia-Bautista, Mollie Hettinger, Brendan Howe, Jenna Meyers, Mauricio Perez, Monica Rivera, Taylor Swift, Megan Thomas, and Ana Villagomez.

Sincere thanks and congratulations to all those involved, including the countless volunteers and support staff who made this event possible! Other station leaders include Alison Bernstein (MSU), Jamie Grit (VAI), Marie Adams (VAI), Allie Weber (VAI), and Jacqueline Peacock (FSU). Julie Turner led the VAI logistics and event registration, and Lauren Woolsey led the GRCC logistics and event setup. Photos in this post were taken by Katie Krajnak from VAI. Dozens of families attended this inaugural event, and we look forward to expanding the event in future years!

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Free Fall in Love with STEM event set for Feb. 18

February 14, 2017

Investigate a series of Exploration Stations during the Fall in Love with STEM event from noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 18. The free event was developed in a collaboration between Grand Rapids Community College, Van Andel Institute and Michigan State University.

From the very large (the solar system) to the very small (blood cells), explore all that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has to offer! Each station is designed to be a 15- to 30-minute activity, targeted at middle school students. Pick and choose which stations to complete, or explore all of them over the course of the afternoon! Program a robot or computer to make a drawing, investigate skeletons by dissecting an owl pellet, figure out mathematical strategies in games, identify DNA to help solve a crime, control objects with your brain waves, and more! Registration limited to 100 students, parking passes will be provided to registrants. This event is sponsored by the West Michigan Association for Women in Science.

This Open House of STEM activities is geared towards middle school and high school students and will be held on the first floor of the Calkins Science Center. The event is sponsored by the West Michigan Association for Women in Science.

For more information or to RSVP, please click this link.

 

Condolences to Janis Qualls

January 11, 2017

GRCC extends condolences to Janis Qualls, in Biological and Physical Sciences, and her family upon the death of her father, John Qualls, on Jan. 10.

Geology lab installs ‘augmented reality sandbox’

November 22, 2016

The Physical Science Department is pleased to announce the completion of the Augmented Reality sandbox. The AR sandbox is one of the newest teaching tools for students enrolled in geology courses in the Physical Science Department at GRCC. The AR sandbox projects virtual topography and water onto a real sandbox. Students can shape the sand, which is augmented in real time to show an elevation color map, contour lines, and water.

The AR sandbox is an important tool for GRCC geology students learning about topographic maps and contours lines. Through manipulating the sand and water features, students can explore geologic and hydrologic principles and learn about flooding, mass wasting, and volcanic hazards.

The prototype for the AR sandbox was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and built at UC Davis’ Department of Geology. Detailed instructions for constructing the sandbox and the free software are available online.

We are grateful to the following individuals for collaborating to build the AR sandbox here at GRCC:

  • Chad Senna, IT
  • Eric Schuemann, Tutoring Services
  • Michael Coluzzi, GRCC student
  • Pam Scott, Physical Science
  • Jim Steensman, Facilities
  • Jennifer Batten, Physical Science
  • Tari Mattox, Physical Science

You can see a video of the AR sandbox in action on the GRCC Physical Science Facebook page.

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GRCC In the News, 11-21-16

November 21, 2016

$6 million grant aims to create worker pipeline for senior living, other employers

Nov. 20, 2016; McKnight’s Senior Living

Four Michigan senior living communities are partners in a $6 million grant awarded to Grand Rapids Community College and designed to address healthcare workforce needs in the western part of the state.

Science Day brings hands-on learning to Grand Rapids community

Nov. 18, 2016; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The second annual Community Science Day, hosted by Grand Rapids Community College, is taking over campus on Nov. 19.

Inside Track: Changing people’s lives

Nov. 18, 2016; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Dennis Van Kampen remembers journeying with a friend to Juarez, Mexico, in 1988 for what would prove to be far from the typical touristy experience.

… When he was younger, Van Kampen felt destined for a career in law enforcement. After graduating in 1988 from Grand Rapids Community College with a degree in criminal justice, Van Kampen worked as a reserve officer for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

First Lady Michelle Obama presents WMCAT with national award

Nov. 17, 2016; rapidgrowthmedia.com

There is big news.

… (Keloni) Seawood-Walton became a part of WMCAT while attending Grand Rapids Montessori School and graduated in spring 2016. She now is working part time as an apprentice at WMCAT’s Ambrose Print Shop while attending Grand Rapids Community College.

Keeping Jeanna Huntoon’s memory alive

Nov. 21, 2016; WZZM

MUSKEGON, MICH. – It’s been a little over six months since the murder of Jeanne Huntoon.

The 34-year-old was stabbed to death near Grand Rapids Community College in April. Authorities have charged Marcus Bivens with her murder.

Grand Rapids wins battle of the Raiders

Nov. 18, 2016; KTIC

The Central Community College Raiders saw their season come to an end with a 3-1 loss to the Grand Rapids Community College Raiders in the consolation bracket of the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.

Photos from Community Science Day

November 21, 2016

Students, staff and faculty from GRCC’s biological sciences, physical sciences, exercise science, dental assisting, nursing, radiologic technology and occupational therapy programs organized the Community Science Day on Nov. 19.

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Geology students explore Upper Peninsula

October 31, 2016

This October, students enrolled in the Physical Science Department’s geology program joined students from Grand Valley State University and Muskegon Community College in the Upper Peninsula to explore evidence of our continent’s tumultuous beginning. Students used their geology skills to study 1-2 billion year-old rocks exposed in the Marquette area. They moved from the “sea to the shore” as they identified submarine lava flows, beach sands now faulted and tilted to a near-vertical angle, ancient life forms called stromatolites, and stacked beds of pure iron ore deposited in Precambrian seas. Students returned to the Lower Peninsula with backpacks full of rocks and bellies full of pasties.

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GRCC seismometer picks up Oklahoma earthquake

September 7, 2016

The September 3 M5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma left a dramatic trace on GRCC’s seismometer. This station (GRMI), located in the geology lab of the Calkins Science Center, is part of the Michigan Regional Seismic Network (MIQuakes). This earthquake is similar in magnitude to one that shook Oklahoma earlier this year. More information about the earthquake and others in the region can be found on the U. S. Geological Survey’s website.

A seismometer shows an earthquake.

Congratulations to Sarah Barker!

July 22, 2016
Sarah Barker stands behind a sign that says: "Badwater Basin. 282 feet/855 meters below sea level."

Sarah Barker

The Physical Science Department is pleased to announce that GRCC geology student, Sarah Barker, was awarded an On To the Future (OTF) travel grant to attend this year’s Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. One of only 125 recipients in the nation, Ms. Barker was offered a travel grant, full meeting registration, and a one year membership to GSA.

From the OTF website:

On To the Future celebrates the growing diversity of the GSA community and the importance of GSA’s student membership through inviting, supporting, and mentoring an increased number of students from diverse backgrounds to their first GSA meeting. This community is designed to provide a place for OTF students to gain exposure to the wide array of geoscience research and career options available. It is intended to facilitate effective mentoring relationships and networking opportunities to help OTF students become engaged leaders in the scientific and professional community.

GRCC hosts forensic science chemistry camp

June 23, 2016

Students in GRCC’s forensic science chemistry camp are using gel electrophoresis, infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to tackle the evidence in a simulated arson.

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Physical sciences department starts Facebook page

May 23, 2016

The physical sciences department has a Facebook page! You can check it out here.

Geology lab acquires seismometer

May 19, 2016

The Physical Science Department’s geology lab is happy to announce that the geology lab is now host to a new seismometer. The station (GRMI) is part of the Michigan Regional Seismic Network (MiQuakes) and recorded its’ first earthquake on Thursday, May 18. Seismic waves from a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Ecuador arrived in Grand Rapids about 9 minutes later. For information about the Ecuador earthquake go to: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/. For more information about the GRMI station and regular updates go to the MiQuakes website (https://sites.google.com/site/miquakes/home), click on “MIQuakes Stations” and find “GRMI”. Whenever the seismometer picks up an earthquake or event, it will be posted on this site.

From the MiQuakes website: “The MiQuakes Network is made up of a group of high schools, community colleges and universities from around the state that have seismometers capable of recording seismic activity from around the country as well as from across the globe. Many of these stations are sponsored by IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutes in Seismology) or by both IRIS and MESTA – the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association.”

A seismometer sits on a countertop. A sign behind it says: "This is a seismometer, a delicate instrument designed to record earthquakes. Please do not touch, move or jostle."

Physical Sciences Students of the Year award winners

April 19, 2016

The Physical Sciences Department is proud to announce their award winners for Physical Sciences Students of the Year. The awards were presented at the Student Leadership Banquet on April 15, 2016. This year’s winners for Physical Sciences Students of the Year are:

Daniel Caylor for Excellence in Organic Chemistry. Dan will be attending GVSU in the fall for Cell and Molecular Biology and future plans are going to medical school for his DO.

Trey Pankratz for Excellence in Analytical Chemistry. Trey will transfer this fall and is majoring in chemistry and plans on obtaining his PhD in chemistry.

Daniel Ridderbos for Excellence in Physics. Dan is attending University of Michigan in the fall to study civil engineering.

Hannah Noorman for Excellence in Geology. Hannah plans on receiving her Associates from GRCC and transferring to study environmental geology.

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Retirement reception for Jeff Stone scheduled for April 22

April 18, 2016

A retirement reception in honor of Jeff Stone, Calculus & Physical Sciences Tutorial Coordinator, Academic Support & Tutoring Services, will be held 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 22 in the Calkins Science Center, 1st floor, Rooms 125/127. Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome.

Adjunct Faculty Spotlight: Patricia Dockham

November 18, 2015
A woman smiles; she is surrounded by leafy trees.

Patricia Dockham

Patricia Dockham is an adjunct instructor the Physical Science Department where she currently teaches Chemistry 120 — Survey of General Chemistry Laboratory. She began teaching Chemistry 130 Lecture at GRCC in August, 2011. She enjoys teaching and tutoring at the high school and college level. Both her parents were high school teachers, as were many of her aunts and uncles. Her grandfather, Verne Dockham, was a Michigan conservation officer and field guide for ornithologists who explored the habitat of the Kirtland Warbler. Learning about his service, she was motivated to pursue a career in science, research and teaching.   Patricia studied chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Nebraska where she was awarded a doctorate in Biological Science in the field of biochemistry. Currently, in addition to her work at GRCC, she tutors high school physics and chemistry for two home school groups in Kent County. She also works as a free-lance editor for Words and Numbers, a science educational service.

Dr. Dockham spends a considerable amount of time volunteering in the legal profession as a litigation preparation expert. She started volunteering as a licensed residential builder in the rough and tumble area of construction law support, and later expanded into the area of civil litigation and criminal defense. She reviews case files, court records, trial transcripts, and media reports to take a fresh look at a case, and compare hard evidence to the timeline and fluid witness testimony. Motivated to do volunteer work, in large part by GRCC’s 2014 challenge for the College’s 100 Years of Community Service, last year she took a look at the case of Michael Elliot, the Ionia 2014 Super Bowl escapee, who has long maintained his innocence in his original convictions for over 20 years.

Patricia learned that Mr. Elliot’s DNA samples were taken during the initial investigation even before his trial in 1994. Interestingly, the prosecution did not use the DNA results at trial, meaning they looked for his DNA but did not find it at the murder scene, in vehicles or at secondary crime scenes. It is often said “Absence of evidence is evidence itself”, especially DNA evidence, so a convincing argument can be made that Mr. Elliot was not at the crime scenes. An attorney statement found in a co-defendant’s file confirms how weak the case against him actually is: “As the Court is aware, there may have been some serious problems with at least one of these persons ever even being bound over on those charges….” Her special interest is in researching and providing support in innocence cases such as his, where she researches and obtains the documents that an incarcerated, but wrongly convicted individual does not have access to.

In addition to teaching, tutoring, and volunteering, Patricia enjoys gardening and caring for cats and dogs. She works with a friend who raises mastiff pups for whom she does website maintenance and advertising.