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Notes for 11/17/2021 Meeting of FIG: Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Prectice

KCC FIG – Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice

Minutes of the Meeting of Wed, 11/17/2021, 11:30am via Zoom

Mary Theresa Ortiz – Facilitator

Present:  Grace Axler-DiPerte (KCC BIO), Shannon Caravello (Urban Farm and Health & Phys Ed),

Christina Colon (KCC BIO), Jodie Delsol (Phys SCI and Advising), Craig Hinkley (KCC BIO),

Lilja Nielsen (KCC BIO), Mary Ortiz (KCC BIO), Robert Schenck (KCC PHYS SCI)

Meeting began at 11:30am.

  1. Mary welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. Mary introduced Shannon.
  2. Shannon introduced herself and spoke about research on the KCC Urban Farm for Faculty &/or students.
    1. The goal/focus is shifting from production (but will still support Culinary Arts) to Education, faculty and staff hands on work and community farming and gardening.
    2. There is now less staff at the farm: Shannon and a full-time gardener. Farm crew lines were lost. The gardener is a Civil Service Gardener position/line.
    3. Shannon wants faculty to have access and use of the farm for education and science (“white coats” on the farm).
    4. Shannon showed a map of the farm and explained it.
    5. There are renovations in the works:
      1. Renewing the beds
      2. Paths that will be ADA compliant. She worked with Accessibility on this.  Paths will be 3 to 5 feet wide.  There will also be different bed heights.
      3. A shade sail for working out of the sun
      4. A cherry tree was planted
      5. 58 trees were planted on the KCC campus (we lost 250 trees in Sandy).
      6. Community space
      7. A pergola structure
      8. Portable chef tables
      9. Hydroponics/aquaponics
      10. Growth towers
      11. Vast areas of open soil and wood chips
      12. Renovations may start in Winter 2022
    6. Propagation will start in Feb-Mar 2022.
    7. Discussion followed
    8. The farm can be used in Spring 2022 (Culinary Arts are using it and LMGHS will use 2 beds).
    9. We must work out schedules with Shannon.
    10. Soil sampling can be done. Grace would like her BIO5000 (General Microbiology) class to look at microbial communities in soil (clover and rhizobium).  Grace and Shannon will speak.  Shannon could use some help with soil analysis.  Robert teaches Geology and Earth Science and asked if the soil changes over the course of a year.  We discussed soil composition.
    11. Christina would like to generate data from semester to semester. She does this is BIO5300 (Ecology).
    12. Christina and Grace want to collaborate to create microbial soil maps.
    13. There is a fall cover crop at the farm.
    14. They get and have compost. They do a little composting at the farm (have bins).  Compost was discussed.  Culinary Arts may get a digester.  Shannon would like to set up a NYC Compost Center.  She has a Master’s Compost Certificate.  Mary suggested contacting Celeste Creegan (KCC OSHA Officer) about composting as part of sustainability.
    15. Shannon is at the farm on Tuesdays and some Wednesdays and Thursdays. Email her to set up going to the farm when she is there.
  1. Robert gave Grace synthetic sterile Mars soil. Robert discussed Mars soil.
  2. Grace mentioned doing Winogradsky columns.
  3. Robert shared there is a weather station on the roof of the S-Building. It would be nice to have one on the farm.  Students could use the data sets.  Shannon would like to do that.  We discussed the Davis Weather station.  It has sensors for moisture, wind, and other parameters.  We discussed lacrosse Technology.  Shannon and Robert will discuss this more.  It would be great for students.
  4. Shannon shared there are a lot of insects on the farm. This year there were a lot of crickets and praying mantis’.
  5. Shannon also shared there are some microscopes on the farm. One has a camera on it.
  6. Craig shared that the NCBI Databases have lots of genomes. You can give your class one gene and look across organisms.  You can make a tree to show the evolutionary history of the gene.  It’s a huge database with DNA, RNA, and proteins.  Craig likes to focus on cytochrome C oxidase.
  7. It would be interesting to combine Comparative Anatomy and microbes in their guts.
  8. Christina shared new audio moths (sensors) in NYC that can detect coyote, bird calls and other animal sounds. These are passive listening devices that can capture sounds for up to a square mile.  She mentioned that iNaturalist now can identify sounds.
  9. Next meeting: Spring 2022. We may be in person with the option to join online synchronously.  Mary will work with Janine and/or Loretta on this.  She will send out info for the meeting in the spring and will send out the minutes from this meeting.  Mary thanked everyone for their participation this semester.

Meeting adjourned at 12:30pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Mary Theresa Ortiz


Minutes of the 10/20/2021 (2nd meeting of the Fall 2021 semester) of the FIG Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice at KCC

Present:  Grace Axler-DiPerte (KCC BIO), Christina Colon (KCC BIO), Craig Hinkley (KCC BIO),

   Lilja Nielsen (KCC BIO), Mary Ortiz (KCC BIO), Kristin Polizzotto (KCC BIO),

   Robert Schenck (KCC PHYS SCI)

Meeting began at 11:30am.

  1. Mary welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.
  2. Mary thanked Christina for the iNaturalist website because it came in handy on a recent hike upstate.
  3. Christina shared how she has her students do a Botany Treasure Hunt using iNaturalist. They can go to their kitchen, grocery store and ID anything plant.
  4. Christina shared she has her class do a research project on predator/prey with a chipmunk study. The students even do correlation analysis.  The students import their data from iNaturalist to Excel to do the correlation.
  5. Mary shared an article from the S.I Advance on a water quality testing project students at Farrell High School have been doing since May 2021. They are also working with the BOP (Billion Oyster Project).  The students are using MPN (Most Probable Number).
  6. Christina shared there are water quality data at the NYC Open Data website. The site is:


Robert shared that Tom Green of the Phys Sci Dept is also studying water quality with students.  He has Go Pro in his lab to record field work.

  1. Mary and Craig shared MACUB needs judges for the virtual conference on 10/30/2021. This was discussed.
  2. Craig and Christina went to the NYSMEA event at Kaiser Park. There were many high schools and the BOP there.  A submersible demo was also there.  Discussion occurred.  The event should be held again next year.  It would be good for the Marine Bio  and other classes.  You can have students present their research here at ease because it is not judged.  When they are at a conference they are less at ease.  Next year the Kaiser Park event will be better.  There was seining at this event.  It is a good event for students.  Maybe this can be combined with the aquarium.
  3. Christina shared she is planning field trips for the BIO5300 Ecology class next year. The NY Aquarium is free on some afternoons in the off-season, but the lines can be long.
  4. We discussed the AMNH. It is free with student ID and free after 4pm.  But, you must book in advance via the app.  But, the app has you pay what they suggest.  Christina shared the planetarium entrance is sometimes less crowded.
  5. Christina shared a project she is having her students do at the MET. She has them study paintings with body parts from extinct animals (narwhales, amber, etc.) in connection with conservation.
  6. We discussed the Prospect Park Zoo is free on Wed afternoons, as is the Staten Island Zoo, which houses the largest snake collection in the world.
  7. Christina shared using art as research using iNaturalist with paintings.
  8. Grace shared the AMNH and MET have interactive collections and online exhibits.
  9. Craig shared sending photos of butterfly wings to collectors for them to identify the butterfly.
  10. Christina shared that you can do this with animals, fur, leaves, etc. on iNaturalist and link to geography, season or year.
  11. Grace mentioned the Lantern Fly invasion on Staten Island.
  12. Kris mentioned zoos have creature cams. Christina shared a website from Chicago with zoo cams:


There are similar cams for zoos in Berlin and Australia.  Some cams give 12 hours of viewing.

  1. We discussed class projects for the Spring 2022 semester. Grace hopes to use the KCC urban Farm for Rhizobium for BIO5000 – General Microbiology.
  2. We discussed how to work without the students using microscopes in the teaching labs in Spring 2022. Grace mentioned disposable microscope covers, using shower caps, saran wrap, etc.  No cell phone use to take photos in the micro labs.  There was discussion of microscope use in the spring.  Grace mentioned Leica has resources on how to keep microscopes safe for use.  She will send us info.  Craig shared the BIO1300 Gen Bio 1 students will not be using microscopes in the spring, but the microscope in the front of the lab can be sued to show things on the screen for the class.
  3. We discussed cameras in the HyFlex classroom. We also briefly discussed Hybrid vs. HyFlex classes.
  4. Christina mentioned the event, Submerge, for next year. It is an all-day event in Manhattan (it is the Kaiser Park event on steroids).
  5. Next meeting: Wed, 11/17/2021, at 11:30am via Zoom. Mary will send out Zoom info for the meeting and the minutes from this meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 12:20pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Mary Theresa Ortiz


Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice FIG Minutes of the 9/29/2021 meeting

Present:  Grace Axler-DiPerte (BIO), Christina Colon (BIO), Jodie Delsol (PHYS SCI), Craig Hinkley (BIO),

   Mary Ortiz (BIO), Kristin Polizzotto (BIO), Robert Schenck (PHYS SCI)

Meeting began at 11:30am.

  1. Mary welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.
  2. Mary and Craig discussed the MACUB Conference for 2021. See poster on next page.
    1. The MACUB (Metropolitan Association for College and University Biologists) Conference will be remote this year on 10/30/2021.
    2. Deadline for submission of student abstracts is 10/15/2021. The website link is:


  1. Deadline for registration is 10/25/21 via the website.
  2. Powerpoint presentations will be done by the students this year instead of posters.
  3. Kathy Nolan is president of MACUB, and her email is knolan@sfc.edu
  1. Robert discussed his research on sediments. Discussion about possibly finding diatom fossils in his samples was discussed.  He uses the SEM on his samples and the XRD instrument for minerals.  He has been working, and working with students, online, but will soon be back in the lab.
  2. Kristin discussed the research project her BIO1300 (Gen Bio 1) class is doing. The students germinate any kind of seed (ex. kidney beans, mung beans, radish seeds) on damp paper towels with essential oils, banana peels, etc., to see what germinates and grows.  The students design and set-up the experiment, collect data, and can do it a second time.
  3. Mary discussed the research project her BIO2100 (Comp. Anat.) class is doing. They are selecting one class of vertebrates and observing them for the semester at a location of their choosing.  Christina mentioned a live cam at the Baltimore Aquarium that could be used in the future.  Grace mentioned the live cams at the National and San Diego Zoos.  She shared the websites for these in the chat:

https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams      and    https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams

  1. Craig shared CSTEP is now open to Math and Computer Science majors. He explained the program.  Christina shared she could use a computer science student to work on the data on horseshoe crabs.
  2. It was mentioned that we can now text students to add to our communication with them.
  3. Jodie shared that she will be offering workshops in Mid-Oct and Nov to recruit STEM majors, and speak on advisement, research programs, and mentoring. She can contact students.
  4. Christina shared passive monitoring by listening for bird calls. She will let us know more about this.
  5. Christina and Robert discussed coyotes on Long Island, before and after the invasion.
  6. The Lantern Flies were also briefly discussed.
  7. Craig mentioned the Cells Alive website. Grace and Craig posted the following websites:

https://www.cellsalive.com/      and      https://www.cellsalive.com/cam0.htm

            You can see bacterial growth in a plate.  There is also something on HeLa cells.

  1. Grace mentioned the Harvard Mega Plate Study video “horror” movie on bacteria.
  2. Next meeting: Wed, 10/20/2021, at 11:30am via Zoom. Mary will send out Zoom info for the meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 12:20pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Mary Theresa Ortiz