ASBMB grants help UAN chapters do outreach

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Public Outreach Committee has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote and organize science-outreach activities in communities across the country. The most recent venture was a novel partnership with the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network, a chapter-based consortium of more than 90 institutions. Participation in science outreach is a requirement for UAN chapters, so the partnership was a natural fit. But to spice the pot, the outreach committee worked with the UAN to develop a grant program that would allow chapters to apply for up to $500 to facilitate student participation in outreach activities.
Ultimately, chapters at seven schools won funding this year. Some are continuing programming that they have been part of previously, while some are starting new programs:
  • • HENDRIX COLLEGE will bring student presentations and biology tutoring sessions to underserved students at Wonderview High School in Hattieville, Ark.
  • • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY will work with the Northeastern Program for Teaching by Undergraduates, known as NEPTUN, to organize and teach a series of science-themed classes aimed at local high-school students.
  • • OTTERBEIN UNIVERSITY will host a molecular biology-themed exhibit at the annual Westerville (Ohio) Starry Night Family STEAM Festival.
  • • PURDUE UNIVERSITY will host molecular biology-themed exhibit booths at Purdue Spring Fest and Celebrate Science Indiana and will make regular visits to local K – 12 science classes.
  • • THE UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA will conduct molecular biology experiments alongside students from Tampa (Fla.) Preparatory High School.
  • • THE UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO will use amino-acid builder kits to teach fundamental concepts in biochemistry to local middle-school students from underserved communities.
  • • WISCONSIN LUTHERAN COLLEGE supported student attendance at its annual Synthetic Biology Summer Camp in Milwaukee.
While this grant program is only one part of a broader effort to involve ASBMB members in science outreach, the dedication and passion of our undergraduate members are encouraging indicators for success. Even better, participation in these activities will instill an interest in outreach that will (hopefully) endure throughout their careers, wherever they end up.
Geoff HuntGeoffrey Hunt ( is ASBMB’s outreach coordinator. Follow him on Twitter at