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Monday, August 16, 2010

A New Job and GAMES 2010

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After 20 years in affiliation with the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and eight years with Bioengineering at the University running laboratory courses, which I just LOVE, it is time to move along and challenge myself in new ways! I have moved on to a position as an online science course designer for the School of Integrative Biology here at the University of Illinois. I will miss the lab and time standing in front of the classroom, for sure, but I am very much looking forward to improving my ability to relate science online to even more students. My expectation is that I can bring some of the personality I have and ability to relay science online through my personal outreach to new courses and also then take what I learn in my job to ramp up the production quality of my outreach as well.

Without my office and lab, I will have to start filming my book reviews and quirky science elsewhere. Luckily, I have access to a studio here on campus. I will be sharing facilities with a great popularizer of engineering here on campus, Bill Hammack. In case you haven't heard of him, he is "The Engineer Guy" . Have you seen his videos yet? Well, here's one where I have a cameo at the end. It is the closest I will ever be to being a Department Chair!

 

With any luck, the new studio means increased production values for my videos. Maybe not quite as elaborate as this one, but still better! And, look for some clever collaborations where a scientist and engineer try to figure out what the other really does and what that means for you!I anticipate a bit of a learning curve, so video production may slow down temporarily.

This summer, I ran two sessions of the GAMES camp (girls adventures in math and engineering sciences). Both weeks were great fun! Each year, myself, Marina Miletic, and our amazing college aged coordinators and lab assistants guide young ladies into a brief introduction into the world of chemical engineering and bioengineering! One module we run introduces the girls to biomechanics. On of my lab assistants (and former student), Joleen Su, put together this video featuring the handiwork of the girls as they attempted to make some models of legs "walk"!  They had to think about the roles of muscles, tendons and their roles in the physics of walking (ie. fulcrums) in order to make their legs walk realistically!

 

 I hope to have more time to post to the blog and add videos now that I'm less tied to a semester schedule and the very demanding needs of cells. I will continue to support the GAMES camp and even hope to be involved in projects that do even more outreach to schools and teachers.

I will be in London in early September for  Science Online London, some networking with various science communicators and the team of the Young Scientists Journal as well as a bit of sightseeing. I promise to do a few nerdy things and report back to you about it!

 Until next time,

Kindly, Joanne

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