David Banks awarded grant

Categories:  Fellow Alumni: David Banks, HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention in Ghana, News and Events, Open source condom vending machine

Congratulations to 3Helix alumnus David Banks who was awarded an NSF grant to pursue his dissertation research! David’s work on Open Source condom vending machines grew out of the 3Helix HIV/AIDS Awareness Project in Ghana. More information here.

Measles Outbreak: Classroom Visit

Categories:  Danielle Basore
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On March 17th, I spent 7th period with a regents level Living Environment class. I had asked them to read an NPR article about the Disneyland measles outbreak the night before. I presented a few slides with background information about measles, focusing on viral replication and mechanism, since they were learning about those topics in their class at the time. After the background, we discussed the anti-vaccination movement. I showed them a political cartoon from 1930 depicting resistance to smallpox vaccination. They all agreed that it did not make sense to refuse a smallpox vaccination, since it is such a terrible disease. They were surprised to learn that smallpox vaccination was made compulsory by the government of several states. I went on to explain the “connection” between vaccines and autism, namely that there isn’t one. I showed them Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 “study” and we discussed his conflicts of interest and fradulent data. They found it ridiculous that people would still rely on this paper as legitimate given it’s retraction and Wakefield’s disgrace. Finally, we ended with looking at the data from the Disneyland measles outbreak. We discussed the amount of time and resources spent by the state of CA on tracking and dealing with this outbreak.

None of the students in this class expressed any concern about being vaccinated or about having their future children vaccinated. We did have a brief discussion about autism and what might or might not be causing it, since three students in the class have young family members that are on the spectrum. They all agreed that it was not a vaccination that caused the condition however. I found all this very comforting, and I hope they continue to think critically about these issues and to rely on rigorous scientific research instead of pseudoscience.

Rubella (German Measles) and Measles Giant Microbes were a big hit with the students!


 

Zombie Crochet

Categories:  Danielle Basore, Photos, Science Club, Uncategorized
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The zombie I (Danielle Basore) crocheted as an example.

The zombie I (Danielle Basore) crocheted as an example.

Several students had expressed an interest in “making something” during after school time.  Since that is delightfully non-specific, it took me a little while to actually come up with an activity that would appeal to the young men who regularly attend my after school sessions.  They are very much into zombies in popular culture, and I remembered that there was a pattern for a plush zombie in a book I’ve had for a while now, “Creepy Cute Crochet“.  I made one myself to show them what the finished product would look like, and brought along many colors of yarn, hooks, and colored felt for adding the scary details (braaaainz).  Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of them had crocheted before, and were worried about their ability to actually make the zombie.  I did my best to allay their fears and set about teaching them basic crochet.  They tried very hard and paid close attention to what I was saying and doing.  We discussed zombies as we worked, from their origins in Africa and Haitii, to their appearance in movies in the 50s and 60s, to their current TV and video game popularity.  One student in particular had clearly researched this topic in his spare time, and he added a lot to the conversation.  The time was insufficient to finish their zombies, but I was very impressed with their efforts considering it was the first time any of them had held a hook.  I plan to keep bringing the materials back so that they can finish their zombies over the next couple weeks!

ZB learns to crochet while my zombie and Zachary the Zombie Alpaca look on

ZB learns to crochet while my zombie and Zachary the Zombie Alpaca look on