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Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach
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Dates for this summer's Girls and Science Camp and Boys Exploring Science and Technology Camp have been announced and registration forms will be available for download from their websites beginning on Monday, March 12. Make sure to get your registration form and payment in early, spots fill up quickly!

Girls and Science Camp (GAS Camp) dates:
Current 7th grade girls: July 9 - 13, 2012
Current 8th grade girls: July 16 - 20, 2012

Boys Exploring Science and Technology Camp (BEST Camp) dates:
Session I: June 18 - 22, 2012
Session II: June 25 - 29, 2012
Both sessions for BEST Camp are for current 7th and 8th grade boys

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SSMV and R.I.P. Students Place in Intel Science Talent Search

Three members of the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt senior class and one student from the CSO's Research Internship Program have been named as Semifinalists in this year's Intel Science Talent Search. Each student won $1,000 prizes and matching awards will be sent to their schools.

- Emily Alsentzer, a student at Hume-Fogg Magnet School, completed her project in Richard Peek's laboratory (Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology), entitled "Identification of novel H. pylori adhesins responsible for binding the host cell receptor decay-accelerating factor (DAF)."

- Ben Gu, a student at Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School, completed his project in Eric Skaar’s laboratory (Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology), entitled "Human Hemoglobin Polymorphisms Affect Recognition by S. aureus Receptor IsdB."

- Jasmine Kelly, a student at Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School, completed her project in Tiffiny Tung's laboratory (Department of Anthropology), entitled "Reconstructing Climate Change and Food Production in the Ancient Peruvian Andes Using Stable Isotope Analysis." Jasmine was also recently recognized as a Siemens Semifinalist for this research.

-Yixian "John" Su, a student John P. Stevens High School in Edison, NJ, completed his project in Nabil Simaan's laboratory (Department of Mechanical Engineering), entitled "Evaluation of Curved Nitinol Stylets for Optimized Robotic Insertion of Perimodiolar Electrode Arrays."

The Intel Science Talent Search is a premiere pre-college science competition that received 1,839 applications this year, choosing only 300 as semifinalists. Emily, Ben, and Jasmine were the only applicants from Tennessee to be recognized. On January 25, forty finalists will be invited to Washington, DC to compete for the top prize.

We want to congratulate Emily, Ben, Jasmine, and John and wish them good luck in the next round of competition!

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Now Accepting Young Scientist Article Submissions

If you have an article in mind for Young Scientist, take a look under the Article Submission pages on our website ( Go to the Upload Article page to ensure your work is upload-ready and to create an account for your submission. If you have questions or trouble with your account or with uploading your article, please contact us via the website.

The submission deadline of January 24th will be here before you know it so act soon!

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Future Young Scientist Authors: The Submission Deadline is Quickly Approaching

The submission deadline for the second edition of Young Scientist is January 24, 2012.

At this point in the process authors should have a working version of their manuscript using the template download. Supplemental methods/figures/etc. may be included with the submission, either in a separate document or starting on a separate page after the article (in the same document). The supplemental material does not have to be in the same format as the article.

Within the next week or two, it is advised that the submission materials be sent to the PI/advisor and other co-authors who helped with the research so that they can review the manuscript and give feedback to make it the best possible submission! It may be helpful to include a link to the Young Scientist website as well as a brief description of the page limit for print (supplemental information will be available on the online version), why the abstract and introduction are written less scientifically, etc.

An example email would be:

Hi Dr. Advisor,

I am submitting the work I have completed over the past year to Young Scientist, a high school research journal for students doing research at Vanderbilt ( I would appreciate any feedback on my attached submission.

There is a 3-page print limit using the journal template, but I can include supplemental data (such as methods or figures), if needed, for the online version. The abstract and introduction are targeted at a more general audience while the methods, results, and discussion are more technically written. The final deadline for submission is January 24th, but it would be helpful if you could email your edits back to me by January 10th.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Your name

Remember, all authors need to approve the entire submitted work.

If authors/advisors/reviewers have any questions, we will be happy to answer them! Just contact us through the Young Scientist.

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Young Scientist is Recruiting Reviewers

Young Scientist ( is actively recruiting graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from Vanderbilt University to review upcoming submissions. Reviewers will be asked to review two 3-page journal articles in January/February, providing critiques and feedback for the high school students who submit. It is approximately a 4-5 hour time commitment.

Vanderbilt graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in reviewing articles or who would like more information may contact us through the Young Scientist website.

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Freshmen Help the Environment by Making Biodiesel

On November 28, freshman students at the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt had the opportunity to help the environment by learning about - and making - biodiesel fuel from waste vegetable oil. With help from members of the Vanderbilt University Alternative Energy Club, the students used waste oil from Vanderbilt's Rand Dining Center, separated it into biodiesel and glycerin (which will be used to make soap), and then purified the biodiesel using two techniques.

The biodiesel the class made will be combined with the biodiesel made by the Alternative Energy Club to power vehicles operated by Vanderbilt Plant Services.

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Juniors Challenged to Think About Science and Society

The fall Interdisciplinary Sciences III course at the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt included a learning module called "Science and Society" where students took an in-depth look at the responsibilities scientists have to ethically conduct research through a look at past and present practices. Elements of this module included a visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a visit to the Vanderbilt General Clinical Research Center, and reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

As a part of the book study, both Dr. Ellen W. Clayton, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society and Dr. George Hill (pictured), assistant vice chancellor for Multicultural Affairs, led discussions that challenged the students to think critically and articulate well-formed opinions.

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In its December 2 issue, Reporter, Vanderbilt University Medical Center's weekly newspaper, shares a photo of the School for Science and Math's finalists and semifinalists in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science, and Technology with the Vanderbilt community.

Pick up a copy from around campus beginning on Friday, December 2.

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Students in Ms. Susan Marino's science classes at Bailey Middle School recently engaged in a crazy activity. Under the guidance of Science Teaching Fellow Jonathan Reynolds, teams of students built their own crazy creature to learn about heredity and how it works.

A roll of the dice determined if the crazy creature was a boy or a girl. Another roll of the dice determined if the creature had a long neck or a short neck and then big ears or little ears. With each roll of the dice, students built their very own crazy-looking creature piece by piece. Special environment cards add to the excitement with additional activities that allow students to explore how the environment influences the traits in a population. When the creature was complete, students stood back and laugh at their crazy-looking creature. They anxiously posed for photographs with their crazy creature as if it was the newest family member.

Crazy Traits is a hands-on science kit developed by CPO Science that meets the science curriculum standards pertaining to heredity in grades 7 and 8. Through this fun and manipulative activity students learn about genetics and evolution. They learn that the traits people and animals inherit from their parents are based on chance. Students also learn about concepts pertaining to traits such as alleles, genotypes, and phenotypes.
2 Photos - View album

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On November 4-6, two SSMV students travelled to Atlanta's Georgia Institute of Technology to face off with the top scientific minds in the south. Shalom Rottman-Yang and Jyo Biswas were one of the 60 projects selected from over 1,900 entries in the Siemens Science Competition to present their research at the Regional Finals. Based on their work in the lab of Dr. James Dickerson, their research paper titled: "Post-electrophoretic deposition separation: an original method for carbon nanotube film fabrication" outlines their novel technique for the production of carbon films (also called buckypaper). Their technique enables large-scale production of buckypaper which has a wide range of uses due to its incredible strength and electrical conductivity.

The two seniors earned the rights as the first-ever Siemens Finalists from the SSMV and were treated to an all-expenses paid trip to Atlanta to present their research and interact with top Siemens executives and Georgia Tech faculty and administration.
Siemens Science Competition Regional Finals 2011 (3 photos)
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