Six of West High School’s Serious About STEM (SAS) students participated in a two-week camp in August of 2021 at UW-Green Bay to learn lab skills to search for novel antibiotics produced by soil bacteria. Three of those students then completed 14 weeks of research at UW-Green Bay during the fall semester.
This is typically a junior/senior level college course for science majors, and these students completed the research as juniors in high school. To honor their part in this international effort to combat antibiotic resistance, a celebration was held at West High on April 6, 2022. The students celebrated included: Jamayah Booth, Lanae Steele, Kiearra Hawkins, Jasmin Martinez-Hernandez, Yasmine Cruz and Maritza Lopez.
As part of the celebratory event, the students received their white lab coats and a certificate. Speakers were UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander and Prof. Brian Merkel, Associate Professor and Tiny Earth Instructor at UW-Green Bay. Their Serious aAbout STEM teacher/advisor at West is UW-Green Bay alumna Lisa Merkel ’00 and ’10 (recognized as an “outstanding alumna” by UW-Green Bay in 2020). Another alumna, Bonnie (Wallberg) Gonzales is a math teacher at West, and critical to the success of the program, including the co-teaching of the summer campus and fall research phases of the program.
The 14 weeks of research completed by Jasmin, Yasmine and Maritza included conducting experiments, including DNA sequence analysis to identify the soil isolates, and to evaluate the activity of the antibiotics their isolates produce against bacteria of clinical concern. The three students presented their research at the international Tiny Earth Winter Symposium, December 2021.
Text and photo from Green Bay Area Public Schools.