Towson, MD, United States
Towson, MD, United States

Goucher College is a private, co-educational, liberal arts college in the northern Baltimore suburb of Towson in unincorporated Baltimore County, Maryland, on a 287 acre campus. The school has approximately 1,475 undergraduate students studying in 33 majors and six interdisciplinary programs and approximately 900 students studying in graduate programs. It is the only college in the United States that requires a study abroad experience. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 23, 2017

Saturday’s march coverage focused, naturally enough, on those who turned out in the streets. But Science’s Dorie Chevlen spent some time talking with those who didn’t march, for one reason or another. Turns out not marching can be a sensitive topic: When Dorie posted a note looking for nonmarchers on a march-related website, several commenters called for her post to be removed, accused her of being a troll, and even suggested she was a Russian operative trying to wreak havoc. Even simple questioning about the march, it appears, can to some people feel like an assault on science itself. Hank Ratrie, a biology professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, agreed with the march’s aims, but trekking to D.C. to walk around the Mall for several hours wasn’t easy at his age. “I’m getting old,” the 71-year-old Ratrie explains, “and I’m not a big fan of crowds, either.” So he was planning “to make my science gesture by taking my students caving instead” – giving them some first-hand exposure to field observation. Virginia Schutte, science communicator in Houma, Louisiana, didn’t think a march is the best way to encourage support for science. “It seems like the way the event has been set up and branded, it’s not going to reach outside of the people who are already aligned with the cause. It won’t be able to change any minds.” She’s thought long about that challenge (and even penned a 5-step strategy online) and thinks ultimately the way to communicate the march’s cause will be through one-on-one conversations: “Many people shy away from topics that they know are hot-button … but letting people see that people they already like have different views from them, that is what will bring about real change in the long run." Nick McMurray, entomology undergraduate at University of California, Davis, and small business owner in Nevada City, California, was concerned about the possible fallout from the march. “It’s good to see people getting involved and passionate,” he says, but “I’m afraid that it’s going to be perceived as just another liberal-democrat progressive’s complaining-fest. … And I don’t think that any of the people who we need to be reaching about science are going to listen.” Rather than organize a march, McMurray believes that “we need to better articulate [the importance of sound science policy and funding] to people—because some people don’t have a good education, some people may need more time, but we’re all intelligent people on some level.” Tracey Mueller-Gibbs, conservation biologist and advocate based in San Diego, California, had been on the fence, but in the end she didn’t march. The event would have benefited from “look[ing] beyond the partisan ideals,” she says, and instead asking “what did we do as members of this society to allow the problems that exist to get here?” And she urged marchers to take on the “everyday practice of looking at what we are doing as scientists, as well as individuals outside the scientific community, to question what are we doing—let’s be aware, let’s speak up, let’s see the smaller problems rather than allowing them to become grand problems.” Anahita Hamidi, neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at University of California, Davis, was inclined to support the march. But as a minority—queer, Iranian-American, a female researcher—she wasn’t happy about how its U.S. organizers handled diversity issues. “I’m not sitting on the outside policing every statement … but a lot of the people in the leadership positions who were part of the organizing and part of the diversity committees stepped down. And I think that was a big red flag for me.” If the march had been the only opportunity to stand up for science, she says, she’d have been there, but “I don’t see that this is the end-all, be-all. I don’t think that this is my only opportunity to be an activist for science.”

News Article | February 28, 2017

In 1973, a handful of Hispanic and Native American scientists got together in Atlantic City, New Jersey to talk about the lack of diversity in their field. In earlier meetings, in Albuquerque and Denver, they'd established a need for a group—one that would encourage more students to pursue science. They'd decided to call it SACNAS: Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. A young scientist named Lydia Villa-Komaroff was at that 1973 conference, which became the first annual SACNAS meeting. She was one of the first women involved with the group—and in 1975, she became one of the first female Mexican-Americans to get a PhD in science in the US. (The molecular biologist, now 69, is widely credited as being the third to earn this title, but in a recent interview with Motherboard, she said she was probably the fourth or fifth.) "It just didn't occur to me that I shouldn't do what it was that most interested me," she told me. "This turns out to be a pretty good strategy that I encourage other kids now to take on." Read More:  David Nott Is Risking His Life to Bring Medical Care to Syria's Warzones Villa-Komaroff's career, spanning four decades, has been remarkable. At the age of 31, she was lead author on an influential 1978 paper that detailed how to produce insulin from bacteria—instead of horse and pig pancreases, which was the leading method at the time—essentially solving the problem of insulin unavailability. Today, most of the world uses insulin made from the recombinant DNA techniques introduced by her team. Her workplaces have included the Boston Children's Hospital, University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, Whitehead Institute, and Cytonome, a private company that specializes in cell-sorter manufacturing. In 2016, she won the Morison Prize at MIT, given every year to an individual whose work in science and towards humanistic values is exceptional. Now—in a state of semi-retirement—she lives across the street from a working farm, minutes outside Boston, and travels the country to to influence students into pursuing science. Making the sciences more diverse and inclusive remains her calling. Born to a big family in a small house in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Villa-Komaroff went to Seattle's University of Washington to study chemistry, partly to find some space for herself. As the eldest of six, she imagined herself in a quiet laboratory, alone. But she wasn't a very disciplined student, she told me, and switched out after an advisor told her that chemistry wasn't for girls. In the face of opposition, Villa-Komaroff said, she was undeterred. "It helps to remind yourself, 'It's not my problem. I know what I can do— they can't determine what I can and can't do.'" "I was almost done with graduate school before I met scientists of colour whom I could look to as mentors" She changed her major five times before ending up in biology, finding herself fascinated by how a single egg could produce a fully formed human being. She transferred out of Washington before completing her undergraduate degree, following her future husband Tony—Anthony Komaroff, now a professor at Harvard—to the East coast. John Hopkins University wasn't accepting female undergraduates at the time, so she went to Goucher College, a small liberal arts school in Maryland. Villa-Komaroff was surrounded by a sea of white men. "I was almost done with graduate school before I met scientists of colour whom I could look to as mentors," she said. As a graduate student, she was at a conference on experimental biology when she noticed a session to discuss Mexican Americans and Native Americans in science, she said. "That intrigued me, because I didn't know there were any." Just a few dozen people were there, yet they represented a good chunk of the Mexican American and Native American scientists with PhDs, and almost all were men. "The joke was, we could all get in an elevator together, and if it dropped and we all died, there'd be no more Hispanic scientists," mathematician Richard Tapia, one of the society's founders, told me. Over the years, as the society grew, the founders became a family, he added. The main objective of SACNAS was to serve as a forum that would both support existing scientists, and attract new ones. "And obviously, we found a need. We found something that people were looking for, and we exploded," Tapia said. Villa-Komaroff's career was taking off. In the midst of postdoctoral work in 1978, she was invited to join Argiris Efstratiadis, Walter Gilbert ("a rotund, jolly genius," as she remembers him), and a handful of other researchers at Harvard to work on cloning insulin in E. coli bacteria. "We knew that you could make the DNA, say from a mouse or a human, in bacteria," she explained, but they had no idea whether it would then work. "That is to say, you would make the RNA, and the RNA would make a protein which would fold appropriately, and then work the way it was supposed to work [as insulin] in a human being." In a research rarity, and very quickly, everything clicked. The team cashed in for 20 years on patent royalties, according to Villa-Komaroff. And patients, within one lifetime, went from dying of insulin unavailability—Villa-Komaroff's own grandmother died of diabetes—to having it readily produced and available. "I now don't have a day job," she told me, laughing. "Semi-retired" for Villa-Komaroff means working on several boards and associations—such as the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation, and SACNAS, whose annual meetings now attract more than 4,000 people—varied work that reflects her life as both a scientist and activist. While there are more female students and faculty today than when Villa-Komaroff was starting out, the progress with ethnic minority scholars has been slower, she said. "We're wasting a lot of talent," she said, "because kids get the subliminal message that they can't do it, or shouldn't do it." Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.

Lenkowski J.R.,University of Michigan | Lenkowski J.R.,Goucher College | Raymond P.A.,University of Michigan
Progress in Retinal and Eye Research | Year: 2014

Adult zebrafish generate new neurons in the brain and retina throughout life. Growth-related neurogenesis allows a vigorous regenerative response to damage, and fish can regenerate retinal neurons, including photoreceptors, and restore functional vision following photic, chemical, or mechanical destruction of the retina. Müller glial cells in fish function as radial-glial-like neural stem cells. During adult growth, Müller glial nuclei undergo sporadic, asymmetric, self-renewing mitotic divisions in the inner nuclear layer to generate a rod progenitor that migrates along the radial fiber of the Müller glia into the outer nuclear layer, proliferates, and differentiates exclusively into rod photoreceptors. When retinal neurons are destroyed, Müller glia in the immediate vicinity of the damage partially and transiently dedifferentiate, re-express retinal progenitor and stem cell markers, re-enter the cell cycle, undergo interkinetic nuclear migration (characteristic of neuroepithelial cells), and divide once in an asymmetric, self-renewing division to generate a retinal progenitor. This daughter cell proliferates rapidly to form a compact neurogenic cluster surrounding the Müller glia; these multipotent retinal progenitors then migrate along the radial fiber to the appropriate lamina to replace missing retinal neurons. Some aspects of the injury-response in fish Müller glia resemble gliosis as observed in mammals, and mammalian Müller glia exhibit some neurogenic properties, indicative of a latent ability to regenerate retinal neurons. Understanding the specific properties offish Müller glia that facilitate their robust capacity to generate retinal neurons will inform andinspire new clinical approaches for treating blindness and visual loss with regenerative medicine. © 2014.

Shamshak G.L.,Goucher College
Marine Resource Economics | Year: 2011

This article assesses the economic feasibility of capture-based bluefin tuna aquaculture on the US East Coast and examines the potential of this hybrid form of aquaculture production to increase the net economic value generated in the US East Coast bluefin tuna fishery. A bioeconomic model of an offshore capture-based bluefin tuna aquaculture facility is used to evaluate the economic feasibility of this form of production on the US East Coast under a variety of economic, biological, and regulatory assumptions. The results suggest that of the three proposed farming sites along the US East Coast, the expected net present value (NPV) of the operation over a 10-year operating horizon is highest at the Gray's Reef, GA, site. The second part of this article assesses the extent to which the opportunity to engage in capture-based bluefin tuna aquaculture production could improve the net economic value generated in the US East Coast bluefin tuna fishery. The results suggest that if the fishery had the opportunity to engage in capture-based bluefin tuna aquaculture production, there would be an increase in the net revenue generated in the fishery. Depending on how the seasonal quota was enforced, economic improvement in the fishery ranged from a 52-142% improvement in net revenue. Even when the cost per fish associated with capture-based bluefin tuna aquaculture production was doubled, the results still indicated that the opportunity to engage in capture-based bluefin tuna aquaculture production would lead to a 12% increase in net revenue in the fishery. Copyright © 2011 MRE Foundation, Inc.

Edwards S.J.,Goucher College | Kjellerup B.V.,Goucher College
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology | Year: 2013

In this review, the strategies being employed to exploit the inherent durability of biofilms and the diverse nutrient cycling of the microbiome for bioremediation are explored. Focus will be given to halogenated compounds, hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products as well as some heavy metals and toxic minerals, as these groups represent the majority of priority pollutants. For decades, industrial processes have been creating waste all around the world, resulting in contaminated sediments and subsequent, far-reaching dispersal into aquatic environments. As persistent pollutants have accumulated and are still being created and disposed, the incentive to find suitable and more efficient solutions to effectively detoxify the environment is even greater. Indigenous bacterial communities are capable of metabolizing persistent organic pollutants and oxidizing heavy metal contaminants. However, their low abundance and activity in the environment, difficulties accessing the contaminant or nutrient limitations in the environment all prevent the processes from occurring as quickly as desired and thus reaching the proposed clean-up goals. Biofilm communities provide among other things a beneficial structure, possibility for nutrient, and genetic exchange to participating microorganisms as well as protection from the surrounding environment concerning for instance predation and chemical and shear stresses. Biofilms can also be utilized in other ways as biomarkers for monitoring of stream water quality from for instance mine drainage. The durability and structure of biofilms together with the diverse array of structural and metabolic characteristics make these communities attractive actors in biofilm-mediated remediation solutions and ecosystem monitoring. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Greco G.E.,Goucher College
Journal of Chemical Education | Year: 2016

Chemistry majors at Goucher College are now required to take a 1-credit course in their sophomore year entitled Chemical Information Literacy. Students in the course learn the structure and organization of the chemical literature, and how to carry out searches of various databases for topic, author, chemical compound, or structure. They learn related skills such as how to use a citation manager to organize citations, and how to use a structure-drawing program. Students are also exposed to the patent literature, and databases of molecular properties. A highlight of the course is a unit on current events in which students learn how to read a paper for general content even if they do not understand every word of it. The course culminates in students choosing a topic of interest to them, and preparing an annotated bibliography that can be used for writing a review article in a subsequent course. As a result of this course, students learn the skills required to be productive researchers, and develop an appreciation for the breadth of chemistry within the first half of their college careers. Furthermore, use of both the ACS journals subscription and the SciFinder search engine among students increased dramatically as a result of this course. © 2015 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

This article explores the ways that farmworkers, many of whom come from a culture deeply rooted in food and agricultural practices, cope with food insecurity by utilizing their agricultural and nutritional knowledge. Food assistance providers in the USA often treat farmworkers' inability to afford healthy food as a lack of knowledge about healthy eating, reinforcing racialized assumptions that people of color don't know "good" food. I argue that in contrast to food banks and low-income nutrition programs, home and community gardens provide spaces for retaining and highlighting agricultural, cultural, and dietary practices and knowledge. This paper investigates the linkages between workers' place in the food system as both producers and consumers, simultaneously exploited for their labor, and creating coping strategies utilizing agrarian and culinary knowledge. I argue that food security and healthy eating, rather than being a matter of consumers making healthy "choices", is a matter of class-based and racial differences in the food system. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pichler M.,Goucher College | Hall D.C.,Goucher College
Optics Communications | Year: 2012

We present a simple and reliable optical setup for active stabilization of a diode laser. The method combines Doppler-free spectroscopy and magnetically induced dichroism in atomic vapor. The long- and short-term stability is achieved using a simplified optical and laser setup. We apply the setup to stabilize an external-cavity diode laser to the D2 atomic resonance in potassium vapor. With the laser locked we attain long-term stabilization to the atomic line with the reduction of laser frequency jitter down to 0.5 MHz on a 50 ms timescale. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Minkoff-Zern L.-A.,Goucher College
Local Environment | Year: 2014

Farmworkers are often overlooked as producers and consumers of food; although farmworkers in California labour in some of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, they are largely food insecure. This paper investigates approaches to relieving farmworker food insecurity in one of the most productive agricultural regions in North America, California's Northern Central Coast. I explore the structural causes for farmworker food insecurity, looking at how farmworker food insecurity is linked to international trade and immigration policies, as well as the systematic exploitation of workers in California agriculture. Investigating the various ways that farmworkers cope with food insecurity, I compare two different approaches, food assistance programmes and farmworker gardens. I discuss the linkages between farmworkers' place in the food system as both producers and consumers, as they simultaneously are exploited for their labour and create their own coping mechanisms utilising their embodied agricultural knowledge. © 2012 © 2012 Taylor & Francis.

McCabe J.,Goucher College
Memory and Cognition | Year: 2011

Two studies examined undergraduates' metacognitive awareness of six empirically-supported learning strategies. Study 1 results overall suggested an inability to predict the learning outcomes of educational scenarios describing the strategies of dual-coding, static-media presentations, low-interest extraneous details, testing, and spacing; there was, however, weak endorsement of the strategy of generating one's own study materials. In addition, an independent measure of metacognitive selfregulation was correlated with scenario performance. Study 2 demonstrated higher prediction accuracy for students who had received targeted instruction on applied memory topics in their psychology courses, and the best performance for those students directly exposed to the original empirical studies from which the scenarios were derived. In sum, this research suggests that undergraduates are largely unaware of several specific strategies that could benefit memory for course information; further, training in applied learning and memory topics has the potential to improve metacognitive judgments in these domains. © Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2010.

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