Youth Neuroscience Association of Charlotte

Kristen Funk is an advisor for the Charlotte chapter of the International Youth Neuroscience Association. The Youth Neuroscience Association of Charlotte (YNAC) is a community for high school students to learn and grow as they pursue their interests and passion for neuroscience. YNAC aims to introduce students to the excitement of scientific inquiry and enable them to explore the wonders of the brain. The chapter is open to high school students in the Charlotte metropolitan area, which meets monthly at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Students in this organization have the opportunity to: Learn about neuroscience and explore career paths; Participate in hands-on activities, including dissections, and experiments; Participate in lab tours; Engage in seminars, competitions, and journal club meetings; Volunteer to teach younger students about the brain; Make friends who are also interested in neuroscience. Please contact Kristen Funk (kfunk@charlotte.edu) if you are interested in getting involved.

Pre-College Programs’ Saturday Academy Program

The Biology Graduate Student Outreach group teaches Saturday lab course once a month to high school students through the STEM Pre-College Program run by the Cato College of Education. Students who participate in the lab course will be exposed to higher level topics such as DNA fingerprinting, frog dissections, squid dissections, cardiovascular response to environmental stress. The program is designed for targeting participants in 9-10th grades, though the course is currently open for all high school students. Students will also get to participate in a Biotechnology course taught by Dr. Dunlap and attend guest speaker presentations set up by the STEM Pre-College Program. The program was started by the newly formed Biology Graduate Student Outreach (BGO) group led by graduate student Anne McMahon and advisors Dr. Paola Lopez-Duarte and Dr. Michelle Pass in partnership with the UNC Charlotte Center for STEM Education Pre College Program . The group aims to develop closer ties between our department and the greater Charlotte community.

Urban Educators for Change

The Biology Graduate Student Outreach group is working on a partnership with Urban Educators for Change (UEC), an organization Dr. Pass was a member of as a PhD student in Urban Education, to further outreach efforts to students enrolled in Title 1 Schools in CMS.

Helping Hand Project

Richard Chi and his students in the Helping Hand Club hold outreach events at local schools with demonstrations, seminars and interactive workshops about 3D printed prosthetics. This outreach is funded by the National Science Foundation as well as private donations.

McPIE Science Sleuths

Tonya Bates, Sharon Bullock, Michelle Pass, Sam Furr-Rogers and Shankari Somayaji have hosted middle school students from McClintock Partners in Education (McPie) several summers in the Biological Sciences Department labs. McPIE is a community outreach program, sponsored by Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC, which supports the students, families, faculty and staff at McClintock Middle School. The McPie Program is also sponsored through the Community Relations Department at UNC Charlotte.

Weaving Biological Cells to Teach Community in an Alternative Environment

This project truly combined biology and art at Turning Point Academy Alternative School. Michelle Pass worked directly with students to complete an art project on diatoms while also providing them with coordinated lab activities learning diatoms economic importance, photosynthesis, and water quality.

Highlands Biological Station

Sarah Stellwagen and collaborator at UMBC, Mercedes Burns, recently acquired funding through an NSF grant supporting underrepresented students to participate in a field course at Highlands Biological Station in Highlands, NC.

Outreach for Community Needs

Each year, the Association of Biological Sciences Graduate Students (ABSGS) organizes several community outreach and fundraising events. Recent outreach includes a Charlotte Pride clothing drive, Jamil Niner Student Pantry drive, and the creation of care packages for the unhoused in our community.

Union County Early College (UCEC) Student and Professional Luncheon

This event pairs 11th grade students with area business professionals in the career area of their choice. This is a great opportunity to help students at UCEC with their education process. Tonya Bates and Michelle Pass have participated in this event.

UNC Charlotte Science & Technology Expo

The UNC Charlotte Science Expo is part of the North Carolina Science Festival which is a month long celebration of science every April. Each year, we celebrate hundreds of events focused on fun, interactive science learning opportunities for students, families, and friends! Multiple Biological Science faculty, staff and students have participated in hosting events, interactive and hands-on demonstrations, lab tours and informative seminars.