Home » Science

Science

Enriching the Lives of Zoo Animals

It was straight out of Wild Kingdom.

Misha, an Amur tiger at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, approached the horned zebra, batted it with her front paws, then knocked down the prey, which clattered onto a pile of rocks. Resuming her attack, Misha tore off pieces with her powerful teeth, before slashing off the gold unicorn horn and then the entire head.

students constructing zebra-unicorn for tigerBut no live animals were harmed in the making of this production. The zebra, which indeed sported a gold unicorn horn, was constructed by Grinnell College students from animal-safe papier-mâché, paint, and cardboard.

The activity stemmed from Grinnell's Community Service Work-Study program and the Grinnell Science Project, a pre-orientation program for first-year students designed to increase representation from groups underrepresented in the sciences.

Group carries the painted zebra through the zoo“Creation and destruction — together that's our purpose with this project,” says Sunny Zhao ’18, a biology major from Naperville, Ill. “It would have been sad if the tiger hadn’t played with the zebra and destroyed it.”

“It was really satisfying to see the tiger tear the zebra apart,” adds Mackenzie “Max” Semba ’19, an undeclared major from Portland, Maine.

It helped that the zebra’s hollow stomach received a helping of meat before a zookeeper placed it inside the tiger exhibit.

Grinnell students have collaborated with the zoo for four years to make new and exciting enrichment items: giant bowling pins for rhinos and puzzles made from twine, milk cartons, raw pasta noodles, and origami cardboard for monkeys and birds.

Spectators watch though a window as Misha, the tiger, demolishes the zebra-unicornThose items help keep zoo animals active, says Megan Wright Walker, area supervisor for animal health at the zoo. “Here in the zoo we provide food for the animals,” she says. “They don’t have to hunt for a mate. They don’t have to hunt for somewhere to sleep. Enrichment items help to mentally stimulate the animals by giving them a challenge.” 

Sunny Zhao ’18 is a biology major from Naperville, Ill. Mackenzie “Max” Semba ’19 is an undeclared major from Portland, Maine.

Changing State, Federal Roles in U.S. Electric Power Sector

David Kathan ’78, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), will present “Changing State and Federal Roles in the U.S. Electric Power Sector” a noon Friday, March 11, in Robert N. Noyce ’49 Science Center, Room 2024. David Kathan holds a doctorate in public policy and management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an economist in the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation at FERC.

Recent developments in environmental and energy sustainability policy, along with the creation of a modern grid, are changing the relative roles and jurisdictional responsibilities of states and the federal government.

Kathan will provide examples of shifts in state and federal governance of these issues. He will focus on several recent Supreme Court cases and decisions that have the potential of further blurring the lines between state and federal jurisdiction, such as the recent FERC v. EPSA demand response decision. Kathan will discuss the implications of these blurred lines and shared responsibility for future environmental and energy policy.

Kathan joined FERC in 2002 after more than 20 years in energy consulting. At FERC, he works on market design issues, including demand response, smart grid, scarcity pricing, and resource adequacy.

Kathan has been the project lead for the commission’s annual demand response reports required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and was the FERC staff lead on the National Action Plan on Demand Response. During 2013, he was on temporary assignment to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he focused on federal agency demand management issues, and was responsible for the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum on federal agency energy management in December 2013.

Prior to joining FERC, Kathan was a principal at ICF Consulting, where he consulted on economic, environmental, and quantitative issues related to the electric power industry, with a focus on demand response and electric system modeling.  He has also held posts at National Economic Research Associates, Synergic Resources Corporation, and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

The Department of Chemistry is hosting the free, public event.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities.  You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Roopika Risam Talk, "Decolonizing Digital Humanities"

Friday, March 11, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Burling Library
Roopika Risam
Roopika Risam, Assistant Professor of English, Salem State University

 

Roopika Risam, Assistant Professor of English at Salem State University, will be visiting campus March 11th and 12th.  During her time here, she will give a lecture entitled, "Decolonizing Digital Humanities: Towards New Communities of Practice," Friday afternoon at 4 pm in Burling Library.  

 

As digital humanities has grown, the field and its methods have been subject to critique for their exclusions along lines of race, class, gender, nation, ability, and other axes of difference. The work of postcolonial digital humanities has taken up these concerns by examining the role that postcolonial theory plays in mediating and reframing the practices of digital humanities. This talk takes a critical look at what it means - and does not mean - to "decolonize" the digital humanities. It raises concern about the undertheorized ways that "decolonization" has been marshaled in response to digital humanities while examining how postcolonial critique can move the field forward and how it influences digital humanities practice in existing projects. 

 

Light refreshments will be served.

 

This event is being co-sponsored by the DLAC, the Center for the Humanities, and Digital Bridges.

 

VoiceThread Workshop

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 4:15pm to 5:00pm
Forum
Digital Liberal Arts Lab
Gina Donovan
Grinnell College

 

VoiceThread is a software that allows you and your students to record or post photos, videos, or audio. After something is recorded or posted, the media can be shared with you or with the larger class to facilitate discussion, share information or experiences, or allow for graded speaking assignments. Gina Donovan will lead a workshop with demonstrations of the VoiceThread software in Blackboard, adding media to a course, and sharing that media with classmates.

Light refreshments will be served.

 

Melissa Hardy ’16 Awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Melissa Hardy ’16 has received the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship for up to $7,500 toward tuition and other expenses for the academic year. 

A senior chemistry and French double major from Billings, Montana, Hardy is using the scholarship to fund her senior year at Grinnell. After graduating from Grinnell in May 2016, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and lead synthetic organic chemistry research in either academia or industry.

At Grinnell, Hardy has served as a mentor to students in introductory chemistry courses. She also was invited to present her research at two research symposia in October: the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium at Rice University in Houston, Texas; and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates Symposium in Arlington, Virginia, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Mike FitzpatrickSenior biological chemistry major Mike Fitzpatrick ’16 earned honorable mention for the Goldwater Scholarship. A resident of Village of Lakewood, Illinois, he plans to attend graduate school to earn doctoral degrees in medicine and neuroscience.   

Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program to encourage excellence in science and mathematics for American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential. Grinnell College students are frequent recipients of Goldwater honors, with six students being named Goldwater Scholars and five students receiving honorable mentions since 2010.

Our Microbial Neighbors

Adina HoweCome join in an interactive discussion of microbiology and how novel technologies have created opportunities to access and learn about our microbial neighbors and how they influence our lives.

Adina Howe, Iowa State University assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, will present the free, public biology seminar "Our Microbial Neighbors" at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in Robert N. Noyce ’49 Science Center, Room 2022. 

She will lead participants to explore how our gut microbes change with our diets, the importance and challenges of soil microbiology, and how microbes can help us monitor and understand water quality in Iowa lakes.

Howe is an expert in microbial ecology, soil health, water quality, big data, and metagenomics. She has had broad, interdisciplinary training, including microbiology, sustainable development, and engineering, and has been a staff scientist at Argonne National Laboratory where she continued studying microbial communities in environments such as the soil and gut.

Danforth Chemistry Seminar

Dale BogerDr. Dale L. Boger, Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute will present a free, public talk, “Discovery of a New Therapeutic Target in an Academic Setting” at noon Thursday, Nov. 12, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

In this general talk, he will discuss how a new therapeutic target for the treatment of pain was discovered in an academic setting by curiosity-driven research.

Professor Boger is internationally recognized for his work in organic synthesis, heterocyclic chemistry, natural products total synthesis and biological evaluation, synthetic methodology development, and medicinal chemistry, and has made seminal contributions to improving the glycopeptide antibiotics and the understanding of DNA-drug interactions of naturally occurring antitumor-antibiotics. 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center Rooms 101 is looped to supports telecoils. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

 

Inaugural Meeting of the Pre-Physical Therapy Society

Are you interested in learning more about a healthy, active lifestyle and about rehabilitation?

Two free public talks on the research and practice of movement science, with a specific focus on physical therapy, are part of the Inaugural Meeting of the Pre-Physical Therapy Society.

Dr. Jeffrey Kinsella-Shaw

Dr. Jeffrey Kinsella-Shaw will present "Physical Therapy: Bringing the Science of Healing and the Art of Caring Together.”

Dr. Kinsella-Shaw is associate professor in the kinesiology department and director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Connecticut. 

Justin Munato

Justin Munafo will present "Research Experiences in Human Movement Science: Older Adults on Cruises" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Justin Munafo is a doctoral student in the kinesiology department at University of Minnesota.

The presentations are appropriate both for those interested in the group and pre-physical therapy as well as anyone in the general public interested in how their body moves and how physical therapy helps.

Damian Kelty-Stephen, assistant professor of psychology and adviser of the Pre-Physical Therapy Society will provide information about the group to those who are interested.

The event is being sponsored by All-Campus Events, Wellness, Students on Health-Oriented Tracks, and Pioneer Diversity Council, among others. 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Visual Contrast Sensitivity as a Biomarker of Neuro-Developmental Age and Connectivity

Jeffrey Kinsella-Shaw will present “Visual Contrast Sensitivity as a Biomarker of Neuro-Developmental Age and Connectivity,” 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, in Robert N. Noyce '49 Science Center, Room 2022.

In this free public event, he will discuss his dynamical-systems theoretic research on the perception-action linkages that support motor coordination across the lifespan and that help to inform and target clinical interventions in movement.

Jeffrey Kinsella-Shaw is associate professor of the Department of Kinesiology and director of the Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy at the University of Connecticut. His visit is sponsored by the biology department.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.