Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Boston Collegiate Charter School at BU

In reflecting on our visit from Boston Collegiate Charter High School last week, one thing stands out above everything else: enthusiasm for science and inquiry. On the tails of our TeenSHARP visits in early April, BURECS, the BU Department of Earth and Environment, and the BU Office of Undergraduate Admissions partnered up to welcome nearly 100 ninth-grade students from Boston Collegiate Charter School (BCCS) to BU on April 28, 2017. 

Boston Collegiate Charter School is a public charter high school located in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood; its primary objective is preparing students for college. In pursuit of this objective, BCCS follows an “academically rigorous college preparatory curriculum for students in grades five through twelve.” The majority of its students come underserved communities in the greater Boston area.

Below are some details (and pictures, of course!) of their visit to the BUARG:

During their visit, the students were divided into two smaller sub-groups for a campus tour with the office of admissions and visits to Earth and Environment research labs. Following the tours of campus and labs, the students were taken to a panel question-and-answer session with BU undergraduate students across science disciplines. At the conclusion of the panel, students were invited to an on-campus dining hall for an informal lunch with the panelists.

In the Antarctic Research Lab, students were first given an interactive presentation by Dr. Marchant on the methods of using ultra-high resolution imagery for remote fieldwork. Following his presentation, the students had the opportunity to take a virtual tour of the BUARG field sites in the McMurdo Dry Valleys using an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset and software designed by the BUARG.

In BUARG's chemical and optical analysis facility, students observed fossilized lake mosses and diatoms in hand sample, under optical microscopes, and using the lab’s scanning electron microscope (SEM). Fourth-year BUARG graduate student Andrew Christ provided the students with an overview of the procedures for collecting the samples in the field, as well as an introduction to terrestrial proxy records of Antarctic paleoclimate. In addition to Andrew’s discussions, undergraduate students in the BURECS program discussed their work as members of the BURECS cohort, and their activities in the lab. 

Andrew Christ shares about the scanning electron microscope.

BURECS student Carina Terry overviews fossil ash deposits with BCCS students.

Students left the visit with a thorough introduction to both the importance of undergraduate research within the BUARG, the overall BURECS program model, and the research of Antarctic geoscientists. The panel question-and-answer session also allowed for a broad range of questions--everything from dining hall food to study abroad options was discussed!

We're excited to see them back here next year! Thanks BCCS!

Are you and/or your students interested in visiting the BURECS lab? Send us an e-mail at burecscience at gmail dot com or ddennis at bu dot edu.