Cupcakes and bra pong — raising awareness through outreach
For someone who couldn’t focus their microscope in a grade school science class or who’s been trapped in a conversation loaded with science jargon, science can be a scary concept. Through outreach, scientists can make their discipline more accessible — and even fun.
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Student Chapters Outreach Grant Program helps undergraduate chapter members host science outreach activities in their local communities. The ASBMB funded four programs in fall 2019. One of the chapters that received funding reported back about their science outreach activity.
The Marymount Manhattan College Student Chapter, advised by faculty member Ann Aguanno, hosted its second annual “I Heart Boobies!” event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in conjunction with the Keep A Breast Foundation. Chapter members set up an informational table and ran a series of activities including bra pong and “Guess the Lump.” People who visited the table could learn how to do a breast exam using a scientific model and try to identify the size and location of mammary tumors. Winners of the activities received “I heart boobies” bracelets. The chapter sold homemade booby cupcakes to raise money for the National Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Awareness Walk held in October.
The chapter raised more than $100 from donations and cupcake sales. At least 15 students joined the Student Chapter’s team for the breast cancer walk. The event raised awareness about breast cancer and its effects among students both within and outside Marymount Manhattan’s science community.
Jordan Barnett and Elena Markovitz contributed to this article.
The Student Chapters Outreach Grant Program
Twice a year, the ASBMB awards grants of up to $500 to help its Student Chapters bring science activities to their communities. The funds can be used to support existing outreach activities as well as pilot new activities.
These grants support a variety of programs — everything from the University of Arizona’s Blastoff! Summer Science Camp to University of Tampa’s Genes in a Bottle to the Marymount Manhattan College breast cancer event described on this page. The goal is to bring science to the public and encourage participation and partnerships in science outreach.
The grant program is sponsored by the ASBMB Student Chapters and Science Outreach and Communication Committee. In addition to funding, successful applicants have exclusive access to the committee’s outreach expertise and resources.
The next deadline for applications is March 1. Each chapter may apply once a year. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Applicants must submit a detailed description of their outreach idea that includes well-defined goals and objectives.
For detailed instructions, sample applications and more information, click here.
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JBC/Tabor award winner Wenchao Zhao studies Keshan disease, a nutrient deficiency named for the county in northeastern China where he grew up.