Showing posts from April, 2015

1000 Word Challenge: The dynasty of the Biology Department lives on!

On April 9th the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy (FOSEP), the Young Naturalists' Society of the Pacific Northwest, and the Burke Museum hosted the 3rd Annual 1000 Word Challenge. The event challenges UW graduate students in STEM research and policy fields to explain their research using ONLY the 1000 most commonly used words in the English language, AKA no jargon. The event was a big success and Biology continued its track record of excellence.

2013: Yasmeen Hussain won overall, while Jonathan Calede and Brandon Peecook won style awards2014: Dave Slager took home the gold2015: Dave Slager begins a reign of his own as returning champion! Jen Day earned 2nd place. This was also the first year awards were given out by popular vote rather than by a panel of judges made up of science communication and public outreach experts. Biology entries below!

DAVID SLAGER (Klicka lab)
1000 Word Entry
: On a nice summer day at our school, you can enjoy having lunch outside on the red rock-co…

Gideon Dunster: Outreach with Taf Academy and STEM OUT

At the beginning of the fall of last year I began working with a volunteer group called STEM OUT. This group, headed by a UW graduate student in the education department, is seeking to create mentoring relationships between graduate students and professionals with high school students from classically underrepresented groups in science. For the past 7 months, this small group of graduate student mentors have been making bi-monthly trips to TAF academy in Kent to meet with our "mentees" to talk science, college preparation, classwork, lab work, and the other general interests of life that are important to high schoolers.

TAF academy is a public school that was started in 2008 through a partnership between the nonprofit Technology Access Foundation and the Federal Way Public School district whose goal is to reach out to students from classically underrepresented minorities in STEM fields in order to help them succeed. STEM OUT was started as a partnership with TA…

Grad Publication: Will King

Let’s say you’re a bird (passerine). You’ve just noticed a potential predator (hungry). Alarmingly, the predator appears to have already detected you; it’s sizing you up for dinner. You might have noticed the predator earlier if you hadn’t been distracted by the jabbering of another bird (let’s call it Jamie).

But now that you’re aware of the predator, you will focus on monitoring its – wait, what is that ruckus? It’s loud, it’s attention-grabbing, it’s – whoa, whoa, when did the predator get so close? Too dangerous. Time to flee!

Hopefully the thought exercise above demonstrated the idea that background noise can distract animals. Attention is limited, and being distracted can have important consequences on survival. The distracted prey hypothesis posits that animals may be distracted by any stimuli, inhibiting their ability to detect approaching predators.

While a student at UCLA, I obtained the opportunity to investigate this hypothesis in beautiful Moorea, French Polynesia. The f…