On March 24th students from Mott Hall Bridges Academy (MHBA) in Brownsville, Brooklyn visited Harvard to explore the university, learn about the college admissions process, and participate in academic activities, including a zebrafish lab at MCB.
The middle school’s annual trip to Harvard was initiated last year after one of the MHBA scholars, Vidal Chastanet, was photographed by Brandon Stanton of “Humans of New York” while walking through Brownsville. Vidal spoke of the most inspiring person in his life, his principal Nadia Lopez, who works tirelessly to empower her students and have them know that they are expected to succeed. A fundraiser was launched to bring the students on an annual trip to Harvard, and after raising almost $1.5 million the yearly event was initiated.
As part of their trip, a group of MHBA scholars came to MCB to learn about developmental biology and zebrafish.
Tessa Montague, a graduate student in the Schier Lab who organized the workshop, began by kitting the scholars out in lab coats, goggles and gloves to transform them into scientists. The scholars toured the zebrafish facility, fed the fish, set up mating experiments and collected embryos. They then looked at the beating hearts of young zebrafish embryos with Alyson Ramirez, a graduate student in the Schier Lab, and Alia Qatarneh from the Life Sciences Outreach program. The scholars also had a chance to talk with Stephen Allsop, an MD-PhD student in the Tye Lab at MIT about his path to science and the lessons he’s learned along the way. The day ended with watching live zebrafish pumping fluorescent blood cells around their bodies, to the great excitement of the middle schoolers.
At the end of the lab, when asked what they wanted to be when they were older, one scholar replied, “I want to go to college and study science!”
2016 zebrafish lab in MCB
March 30, 2016 Harvard Gazette +
April 9, 2015 MCB News