In March, Pompano Lab member Maura Belanger volunteered as a judge for the 2019 Virginia Piedmont Regional Science Fair, where hundreds high school and middle school students from all over the state came and shared their projects! This annual event is a great way to get students interested in science and interact with the community at large. It’s always an inspiration to see these students get excited about sharing their experiments! Congrats to all the winners this year!!
Prof. Pompano hosted the ACS Women Chemist’s Committee for their annual Career Panel Event on October 4, 2018. We were thrilled to meet three highly successful chemists with all different career histories:
Dr. Bonnie Landy, co-founder and director of brewery operations at Winchester Brew Works in Winchester, VA. BS and MS in Chemical Engineering.
Dr. Linnette Watkins, professor and department head of Chemistry and Biochemistry at James Madison University. PhD in Chemistry.
Ms. Debbie Winetzky, applications chemist and product manager at BIO-CAT in Troy, VA. Over 20 years in the chemical industry across the country.
It was a great experience for the students in attendance. Many thanks for Dr. Stephanie Mabry for organizing!
“A Glimpse into the Chemistry of the Immune System”
It was a special honor to be invited to speak to UVA staff members at their annual professional development event in June 2018. Although the event was meant to inspire the attendees, in the end it was just as inspiring for me! Sharing our lab’s vision, goals, and progress with people from mostly non-science backgrounds, many of whom provide the daily support that make it possible, was a special privilege and a touching reminder of why I am here.
On November 29, we were lucky to host Charlottesville High School for the first ever CHS-UVA Science-and-Art field trip to the Department of Chemistry! Twenty-nine students from AP Chemistry, Art I, and Honors Studio Art came to visit for tours of the science labs, presentations from graduate students, and a unique art activity designed by Ms. Rachel McLaughlin, art teacher from CHS. The art featured surrealist portraits, where faces were recombined on puzzle pieces, to convey the idea of "organ-on-chip": fabricating organs from molecules and cells and rearranging their pieces in the chemistry lab.
"One thing that I really enjoyed was being able to see the two microscopes in the labs we visited. In each one, we were able to see cells up close and that is something I've never seen. It was a fun and eye-opening experience. Another thing that was really cool was hearing about the organ on a chip because it’s such an amazing idea!" -- A. M., 10th grade
"I'm really interested in both chemistry and art so being able to see how those two intersect was really cool for me. Also being able to see the applications of some of the ideas we talk about in art class being able to be used in medical advancements through chemistry is inspiring." -- S. L., 11th grade
Many thanks to CHS teachers Rachel McLaughlin (art), Rhoda Baker (chemistry), and Sherry Hodges (chemistry) for coming and bringing their students! Also, the tours and talks would not have been possible without Charles Richardson from Gahlmann lab, Mimi Shin from the Venton lab, Nathan Swami from the Swami lab, and Lauren Russell from the Lampe lab.
We are grateful to the Department of Chemistry for their support of this event.
Dr. Pompano co-led the Virginia delegation for AAI's Capitol Hill day, a day in which researchers from all over the country traveled to Capitol Hill to visit their Representatives and Senators and advocate for strong, steady support of funding for the National Institutes of Health. From Virginia, a group of four researchers from academia and a research institute met with the staff of Representatives Garrett and Wittman, and Senators Kaine and Warner. We thank them all for their agreement about the importance of biomedical research! We hope to see continued strong support from the House and Senate for the NIH.
Both Meg and Maura participated as judges for the Virginia Piedmont Regional Science Fair. The fair was held on March 9, 2017 at John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville Virginia and hosted students from all over central Virginia. This is a great event that allows both middle and high school students to showcase their creativity and scientific skills. More information on the fair and how to get involved can be found here
On January 12, 2017, the first Thursday of the legislative session, Colleen Taylor (faculty at Virginia State) and Rebecca Pompano (UVA) participated in Virginia Higher Education Advocacy Day at the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond. The theme of the day was “Hands off Higher Education -- Maintaining Commonwealth Support for Higher Education.”
As faculty, we urged our state delegates and senators to resist the temptation to cut funds further from public education: state funding per student already declined by 46% and 31% for 4-year and community colleges respectively, from FY 2001 to FY 2014.(1) Funding for education directly affects the quality of science training that Virginia students receive to prepare them for future careers and active citizenship.
We especially thank Charlottesville's Delegate David Toscano for taking the time to meet with us. We appreciate his strong ongoing support for higher education.
1. D. Toscano, “Politics and The Great Cost Shift in State-Funded Higher Education.” Virginia General Assembly Update. October 20, 2016.
Quote visible on the wall of VA state capitol: "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." --Thomas Jefferson, 1789.
Dr. Pompano and Dr. Ross both attended this year's MicroTAS conference in Dublin, Ireland! MicroTAS is a world-wide microfluidics conference where Dr. Ross presented on the local stimulation device.
Dr. Pompano took part in the outreach program.
Overall it was a great conference and we look forward to many more in the coming months!
We were lucky enough to be visited by the talented chemistry students at St. Anne's Belfield School in February. We were able to advise them on their long term, multidisciplinary projects which covered topics such as glass manufacturing and fermentation. It was great to hear about their projects and give them some new ideas. We also took them on a tour of the lab where they got to see microfluidics in action!
Many thanks to the University of Chicago Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs for the invitation to speak on a career panel, "Year One as Faculty"! The 2015 GradUCon conference on April 10 was full of energy and a privilege to be a part of.