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MTHS Biology Students Skype a Scientist

Manchester Township High School biology students recently had the opportunity to Skype with Dr. Clarissa Rios Rojas, who holds a PhD in Molecular Biology. She spoke about her research that includes how cells contribute to sex determination and how your sex cells create your organs and who you are. She also discussed her work as founder and director of the organization Ekpa'palek, which is focused on offering professional development programs to young Latin American students and young professionals. MTHS biology teacher, Danielle Palmieri, booked the event through a program at Rutgers University.

Dr. Rojas on screen

Rojas was born in Peru and studied all over the world. She recently moved from Italy to the Netherlands and is currently working with the Joint Research Center of the European Commission's science and technology service where she provides scientific advice and support to EU policy. Rojas was selected as champion of UN Women for the economic empowerment of women, a UNESCO delegate, an emerging leader in the Atlantic Dialogues and also at the Asian Forum on Global Governance, an adviser to the Women Economic Forum and a member of the Global Young Academy. Her work is also related to science diplomacy, the formulation of public policies, economic empowerment of women and global governance.

Several science classes gathered in the auditorium to participate, with the Skype feed projected on a large screen. They listened intently to Rojas and were clearly engaged by what she had to say. Several students were able to ask their own questions. Here are some comments from students submitted to Biology teacher Danielle Palmieri following the program:

"I liked this Skype because we got to talk to a scientist who had an amazing life story and she was able to teach us about what she has done to get there."

"I liked the Skype a scientist and learned the equipment she uses to do her studies, the way she works and organizes herself and her great interest in neuroscience and why she is interested in it."

"She constantly went back to college in order to get all her degrees. She tests chicken genes in replacement of humans. She became interested because she wanted to know how an egg and a sperm made lungs, brain, hearts, etc."

"She uses 3D technology to analyze organisms. (I learned about) Her daily life in the lab, her struggle to pay for college and the numerous amounts of jobs she had to gain money."

"I liked this experience because it was great to hear things from an actual female scientist."

"I learned why people want to become a scientist, what kind of experiments she has done, and how much she has been able to travel. I liked it because it was really interesting, talking to a scientist live who answered our questions."