IGERT Trainees Devote Time to Community Education and Outreach

Torri Rinker & Denise Sullivan, have been elected co-chairs of the Bioengineering and Bioscience Unified Graduate Students (BBUGS) Education and Outreach Committee. 
Rinker joined the Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT program in 2011 as a trainee in the Temenoff Laboratory conducting research on the interaction between adipocytes, osteoblasts, and human mesenchymal stem cells in a 3D tri-culture system. As co-chair, she has organized volunteers and planned experiments for the Girls Summit, an education opportunity for middle and high school girls in Atlanta to come to Tech and learn about healthy lifestyle choices. The volunteers demonstrated that Diet Coke floats because it has lower sugar content than regular Coke; they also demonstrated the viscoelasticity of silly putty and related it to muscle use. 
Sullivan joined the Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT program in 2011 as an associate conducting research in the McDevitt Laboratory where she is investigating the use of incorporated microparticles within embryoid bodies to better understand embryonic stem cell response to specific cues from signaling molecules and surrounding environment. As co-chair, she has recruited volunteers to perform science demonstrations at Hands on Future Tech, a male middle school program hosted by Keith Odem, PhD, from the school of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. This event is for students who have an interest in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) and would like to gain exposure to various career opportunities available within these fields.
Rinker and Sullivan helped coordinate the Buzz on Biotechnology on October 13th, 2012 by recruiting volunteers and organizing demonstrations. This event welcomed over 200 middle and high school students from across Atlanta to Georgia Tech for demos, lab tours, and seminars. They helped develop the brochure that outlined the various activities at the event and ensured that each event was fully staffed with volunteers and supplies.
The BBUGS graduate student group, is comprised of six different committees committed to providing unique education, training and social activities beyond the laboratory.  Rinker and Sullivan’s appointment will be through the summer of 2013 at which time they can be reelected if they choose.
Related Websites
Bioengineering and Bioscience Unified Graduate Students

Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
McDevitt Laboratory
Temenoff Laboratory