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Want to meet students who are a lot smarter than you and I? Then meet these semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search.

Four students from Hume-Fogg Magnet High and three from Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High won the distinction for their work done through the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt.

Zach Anderson (Hume-Fogg) completed his project with Jason Valentine, Ph. D. in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His project was "Reflection and Transmission Measurements at Variable Incidence Angles of a Zero Index Metamaterial." Zach was also recognized as a Siemens Semifinalist for this research.

Abhinav Goyal (Hume-Fogg) completed his project with Qi Zhang, Ph. D. in the Department of Pharmacology. His project was “Culturing of Neurons on Graphene Transistors for High Resolution Scanning of Processes.” Abhi was also recently recognized as a Siemens Semifinalist for this research.

Aditya Gudibanda (Hume-Fogg) completed his project with Jens Meiler in the Department of Chemistry. His project was “The implementation of paired descriptor functions to improve quantitative structure activity relationship models from drug discovery.”

Busra Gungor (Martin Luther King Jr.) completed her project with Hal Moses, M.D. in the Department of Cancer Biology. Her project was “Uncovering the Role of TGFβ and BMP in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Stem Cells.” Busra was also recently recognized as a Siemens Semifinalist for this research.

Melissa Guo (Martin Luther King Jr.) completed her project with Nilanjan Sarkar, Ph. D. in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her project was “Interfacing of Kinect Motion sensor and NAO Humanoid Robot.”

Meera Patel (Hume-Fogg) completed her project with Richard Peek, M. D. in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology. Her project was “Helicobacter pylori alters the tight junction-regulating adhesion protein BVES and promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in a nontumorigenic murine gastric epithelial cell line (MGEC).”

Jenny Zheng (Martin Luther King Jr.) completed her project with David Wasserman, Ph. D. in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Her project was “Interaction of integrin and insulin actions in the insulin resistant liver."

Each student won a $1,000 prize with a matching prize given to their schools.

Read more about the award.

Apply for the School for Science & Math at Vanderbilt


Twitter. Some people use it for news, some for business and personal promotion, and some for social engagement. To Overton High School students, it is an engine that has given them the opportunity to connect, share ideas, and ask questions with peers around the world, particularly in the field of science. Thanks to that international connectivity, Overton student Lilly Q. is a guest blogger this week on a popular science education blog, Promega Connections. Click here to read why Lilly says social media has changed the way she and her classmates are learning and how they are tapping into some of the brightest minds on the planet.


Four MNPS seniors who are enrolled in the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt are gaining national recognition. The students are semifinalists in the national Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology.

Congratulations to:

Zachary A., of Hume-Fogg. Zachary completed the project “Reflection and Transmission Measurements at Variable Incidence Angles of a Zero” under the supervision of mentor Jason Valentine, Ph. D. (Mechanical Engineering).

Abhinav G., of Hume-Fogg. Abhinav completed the project “Culturing of Neurons on Graphene Transistors for High Resolution Scanning of Processes” under the supervision of mentor Qi Zhang, Ph. D. (Pharmacology).

Jacob S., of Hume-Fogg. Jacob completed the project “Examining sequences that stimulate telomere addition following DNA double-strand breaks in Saccharomyces cerevisiae” under the supervision of mentor Katherine Friedman, Ph. D. (Biological Sciences).

Busra G., of Martin Luther King, Jr. Busra completed the project “Uncovering the Role of TGFβ and BMP in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Stem Cells” under the supervision of mentor Hal Moses, M. D. (Cancer Biology).

Siemens named 322 semifinalists representing 32 states and an international school in South Korea. Tennessee has 10 semifinalists.


It was raining eggs at Head Middle Magnet this week. Students participated in the annual Egg Drop led by 7th grade science teacher Dwayne Hardin. The goal was to build a device that would protect the egg as they were dropped from the top of the gym roof. All students participated and were given a science grade for their projects.

Contraptions of toothpicks, peanut butter, Styrofoam and marshmallows were among the most creative.


Science Carnival at Head MS

Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science held a science carnival after school at Head Middle Magnet Friday, Sept. 7. Students enjoyed making their own ice cream, exploring optical illusions, and discovering the identity of “mystery” substances to name a few activities. A special thank you to Vanderbilt for sponsoring this interactive event!


Nine Metro Schools educators, including teachers and coordinators, took a ride with Sally Ride Science Academy sponsored by ExxonMobil. Through this program, each teacher will learn new and innovative strategies to help raise student interest in science subjects and careers.

Congratulations to the following teachers selected for the Academy:

  • Nicole Kloor-Janz, Maxwell Elementary

  • Hildateri Parks, Lakeview Elementary

  • Amanda Sheaffer, Tom Joy Elementary

  • Shauntel Jennings, Isaac Litton Middle

  • Stephanie Lankford, McMurray Middle

  • Carlene Taylor, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

  • Mary Jane Woomer, DuPont-Hadley Middle

  • Ernestine Saville-Brock, MNPS Mathematics Coordinator

  • Sarah Baker, MNPS Science Coordinator

These fine educators join 260 others from across the country.

The Sally Ride Science Academy was founded by Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. The academy is dedicated to assist teachers in raising student interest in science. The program, based on research, shows that introducing young students to various science careers and scientists can spark interest and make the study of science more meaningful.


End-of-Course exams start in just a few weeks, so it's time to study up!

If you need an extra push in preparing for that biology exam, you have several chances to take part in an online review conducted by teachers from Overton and McGavock High Schools.

Adam Taylor and Nae'Shara Neal will hold streaming video reviews and all students are invited to participate. Here are the dates (all sessions start at 7:00 p.m.):

  • April 10

  • April 12

  • April 17

  • April 19

  • April 23

  • April 24

  • April 25

  • April 26

If you miss one, don't worry; archive videos of each session will be posted online.

To learn more and to take part,
visit their website. Embedded below is a replay of the April 10 review session.

Watch live streaming video from taylorsci at livestream.com


Congrats to Jyotishka and Shalom, and a special thanks to the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt for sharing the following news release with us!

Students at the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt land first publication

Two members of the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt will be seeing their names in print as lead authors on their first scientific manuscript.

Jyotishka Biswas and Shalom Rottman-Yang, seniors at the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt have just reached a milestone that most scientists don’t achieve until they are well into graduate school. . . having chief authorship on their first publication in a scientific journal.

In most universities, this accomplishment is a fundamental requirement in order to be awarded a PhD in a scientific discipline. But, as they are finishing up their senior years in high school, Jyotishka and Shalom have their sights set on a much more humble experience of starting their undergraduate education. Jyotishka has his sights set on Georgia Tech and Shalom is looking to head off to Princeton next fall. Both have stated that they would like to continue working in a lab during their undergraduate years.

Their work which was recently published in the Journal of Electrochemical Society http://dx.doi.org/10.1149/2.095204jes represents a substantial contribution to the electrophoretic deposition research community on par with the contributions that have been made by other professional scientists in the community. Their findings could facilitate the production of intact, but ultra-thin carbon nanotube films at an industrial scale, which could have implications in applications, such as flexible electronics, ballistic protection, and ultra-light fabrics.

In addition to their time spent at Hume-Fogg High School, Jyotiska and Shalom have been coming to Vanderbilt University for one day a week for the last four years. The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV) is a joint venture between Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and offers high school students an interdisciplinary, research-centered learning experience that culminates with students entering laboratories of Vanderbilt Researchers for a year-long internship.

Students write up these projects to submit to national competitions such as the Siemens Science Competition where Jyotiska and Shalom were recently named regional finalists.

The SSMV has received funding from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health, and other generous donors.




Congratulations to all students who participated in the MNPS Middle School Science and Engineering Fair this year! The year's big winners are posted below.


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Mark your calendars! MNPS middle school students will show off their exemplary science projects at the MNPS Middle School Science & Engineering Fair Showcase and Awards Ceremony. The event will be held at Rose Park Math and Science Magnet School, Tuesday, March 20. The showcase begins at 7:30 p.m., with an awards ceremony following at 8 p.m.

Students whose projects received Exemplary ribbons or top placement will be on hand to talk about their work and answer questions. The students receiving Exemplary ribbons will also be recognized during the Awards Ceremony and trophies will be awarded to top projects in each category.

Click through for a full list of students with Exemplary projects.


The MNPS Middle School Science and Engineering Fair will be held on Saturday, March 3, at Rose Park Middle Math and Science Magnet School.

The 16 participating middle schools have selected the top projects from their school fairs to compete at the district fair. MNPS anticipates roughly 500 projects from students in 5th through 8th grades.

The schedule is as follows:

11:30 - 1 p.m.:   Projects open for public viewing, Rose Park Gymnasium

1 p.m.:               5th/6th Grade Awards Ceremony, Rose Park Auditorium

1:30 p.m.:          7th/8th Grade Awards Ceremony, Rose Park Auditorium


Three MNPS students are gaining national attention for their mad science skills! Emily Alsentzer, a student at Hume-Fogg, and Jasmine Kelly and Ben Gu, students at MLK, entered the competition through their enrollment with the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt. All are now seniors in the four-year research-based program. Check out the news release below.


A 7th grade science classroom at J.T. Moore Middle School recently transformed into a miniature cancer center for the day. Thanks to Vanderbilt Scientists in the Classroom, the students actually spent a two-week period working to prevent cancer growth. To read what happened and what the students learned, check out the full blog post on Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach's site.


Oct. 13, Head Middle Magnet School held its annual Egg Drop!Head Egg Drop

Every Head Magnet student made a container that would not only survive a fall from the top of the gym, but would also hold an egg that would survive the drop as well. Many parents came to watch the vessel their child created be dropped from the top of Head’s gym. The parents wanted to see if the container that carried and hopefully protected the egg survived the fall without breaking or cracking.


Five MNPS educators were selected to attend the Sally Ride Science Academy this past summer! This group is now training others in the district. Check out the news release issued by the Academy:

The Sally Ride Science Academy brought to you by ExxonMobil announced that five educators from Nashville were selected to learn new, innovative strategies to raise students’ awareness of and interest in science and science careersSally Ride Science Academy - Five MNPS educators selected to attend.

Teachers from Metro Nashville Public Schools attending the Academy include:

  • Sarah Baker, Science Coordinator for MNPS

  • Theresa DuLaney, teacher at Bellevue Middle School

  • ReGina Etter, STEM Instructional Designer

  • Marti Moore, teacher at Ross Elementary School

  • Robby Yates, teacher at Lakeview Elementary School

The Academy is a partnership between Sally Ride Science, founded by the first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride, and ExxonMobil.  The program educates teachers and counselors about the importance of introducing young students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, showcases diverse role models in those careers, and provides pathways to incorporate STEM career awareness in the classroom. The Academy was held in San Diego.

Educators were selected by district administrators based on their qualifications, dedication to inspiring students at an early age, and overall commitment to enhancing the teaching profession. The participants are among 275 educators from around the country attending additional Academy sessions this summer.

“I’m thrilled to announce the selection of these fine educators,” Ride said. “Research shows that introducing young students to the wide variety of science careers available, the many paths to becoming a scientist, and the vibrant women and men working in science today makes girls and boys more likely to stay interested in science and to consider a science career. By partnering with ExxonMobil, we’re equipping educators with the necessary tools to encourage students to pursue math and science in higher education and beyond.”

The Sally Ride Science Academy utilizes a train-the-trainer model that prepares Academy graduates to train other teachers in their district during the 2011-2012 school year.  Graduates and their trainees will receive sets of the Sally Ride Science Cool Career book series for use in their classrooms.  Since the inaugural Academy in 2009, the Academy has trained more than 395 educators in 41 districts spanning 14 states and the District of Columbia. Those educators have since returned to their districts and trained more than 2,700 additional educators using Academy materials.

“Programs like the Sally Ride Science Academy brought to you by ExxonMobil will help transform the perception of scientists and science-based careers and inspire young people to take up careers in these areas,” said Truman Bell, senior program officer for education and diversity, ExxonMobil. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that every child feels inspired and competent in these subject areas to face the challenges of the future.”

The Sally Ride Science Academy is part of ExxonMobil’s investment in math and science education in the United States. The company supports numerous other initiatives that encourage students to take an active interest in careers in the math and science fields; support the professional development of highly qualified teachers and promote involvement of women and minorities students.



Bailey STEM Magnet Middle, West End IB World School, and Whites Creek High School will be vying for the title of Music City's "BEST" this weekend. The schools have teams selected to participate in an annual robotics competition that kicks off this Saturday, Sept. 17, at David Lipscomb University.

The six-week competition is designed to encourage students to think about careers in science, technology and engineering. Teams will spend the next month and half working on their robots. They will reconvene later this fall for a final showdown. The program is sponsored by the local non-profit BEST and David Lipscomb University. Good luck!


Friday, Sept. 9, Head Middle Magnet School held its second annual Science Carnival for the students. The Science Carnival was sponsored by Vanderbilt Students Who Volunteer for Science (VSVS). There were 11 science stations that housed different experiments for students to see. For instance:

  • students learned the Science behind making Dippin Dots and sampled the Dippin Dots they made;

  • they learned about blood types and what blood can or cannot be accepted by a person due to their blood type; and

  • they learned the difference between acids and bases and the chemical reactions that can take place with both.

The Science Carnival served as a remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy.


Now through March 31, applications for the 2011-2012 Saint Thomas Science Scholars Program are being accepted! This is a great opportunity for students enrolling in Healthcare Academies through The Academies of Nashville. PENCIL Foundation works with Saint Thomas to select students through an application process. Through this program, students are exposed to several different career options in the industry and have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with hospital staff. If selected, students participate in six hands-on, interactive sessions at the hospital. These are Saturday sessions held throughout the school-year so students must have their own transportation.Student eligibility:Currently enrolled in honors science class in 9th gradeSuccessfully completed Honors BiologyInterested in learning about careers in healthcareDemonstrate a curiosity about scienceCommitted to attend 6 Saturday sessions at Saint Thomas Hospital during the school yearClick here for an application.

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