On April 14, Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science hosted the inaugural Science Fest throughout the Breezeway on the Boca Raton campus.
Approximately 1,000 visitors, including area high school and middle school students, community members, FAU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff enjoyed science-related exhibitions, along with interactive games and activities.
A judged undergraduate student poster competition, generously sponsored by the Dr. Eric Shaw Excellence in Science Undergraduate Research Award, was also held during the event. Seventeen undergraduate students showcased their research projects within the Schmidt College of Science to compete for the $1,000 award. The newly established award creates a platform and opportunity for students in the Schmidt College of Science to participate in the communication of scientific research to their peer groups, faculty and community members.
“Our students represent the next generation of scientists, health care workers, policy makers and problem solvers, and based on the projects that were presented, their future impact on science and society is going to be exceptional,” expressed Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Dean Valery Forbes, Ph.D.
Presented by: Hamza Hanafi
Title: “How Fast is Too Fast? Studying β-Hairpin Peptide Degradation by Enzymatic Proteolysis”
Authors: Hamza Hanafi, Lien Leminh, Sarah Naylon, and Stephane Roche
Acknowledgements: Associate Professor, Stéphane P. Roche, Ph.D.; Alexis D. Richaud, Ph.D.; Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry Research Grant; The Roche Research Group; Sarah Naylon
Presented by: Rised Philogene and Stephanie Toleno
Title: “Reversing the Gut-Wrenching Effects of Environmental Toxins”
Authors: Rised Philogene, Stephanie Toleno, Jean Bontemps, Krista McCoy, Ph.D., and Nwadiuto Esiobu, Ph.D.
Acknowledgements: Professor, Nwadiuto Esiobu, Ph.D.; Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry Research Grant; Jean Bontemps; Associate Research Professor, Krista McCoy, Ph.D.; Deena Davis
The event also included a courtesy research poster exhibition area for FAU Honors College and FAU High School students, which included about 10 students. These future scientists engaged with the public to discuss their research and earn valuable science communication skills.
Exhibitors and partners included departments and programs within the Schmidt College of Science and units around the University, as well as Manatee Lagoon, FAU Research Park, the Museum of Discovery and Science, Cox Science Center and Aquarium, local nature centers, Florida Public Archaeology Network, FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, FAU Stiles Nicholson Brain Institute, and more. Guests experienced a wide range of the sciences at Science Fest, with interactive displays and activities from dozens of exhibitors. The FAU Rubin and Cindy Gruber Sandbox showcased their robotic dog, the Division of Research displayed FAU’s 2022 Art of Science winners, shark jaws and sea turtle shells offered tactile experiences, and different virtual reality goggles immersed wearers in the depths of future sea level rise in South Florida and took users on a tour inside the human body, among many other learning experiences.
Guests also enjoyed a scavenger hunt that included prizes, such as free admission tickets to the Museum of Discovery and Science, free admission tickets to the Autonation IMAX, Museum of Discovery & Science Theatre, FAU dining vouchers, among other gifts.
The aim of the festival is to celebrate the College’s diversity of scientific disciplines and the variety of contributions from faculty and students, inspire the next generation of scientific problem solvers, and foster partnerships between the university, scientific organizations, and local communities to promote the science disciplines and the ideals of mutual respect and inclusion.