Honors Biology students focus on environmental education with grant programThe science departments at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jefferson Davis and Jackson County campuses recently participated in a $7,500 Learn and Serve Grant program funded through The Corporation for National and Community Service and sponsored by The University of Southern Mississippi. The grant allowed students to complete projects concerning environmental issues and to use those projects to teach the community about the impact mankind has on the planet. The purpose of the Learn and Serve grant was to enhance students’ academic learning, their sense of social responsibility and their civic skills through service-learning, and to engage participants in meeting the unmet educational, public-safety, human and environmental needs of communities.
Dr. Fran Marchette, science instructor at the Jefferson Davis Campus had 20 students in fall 2011 and spring 2012 who participated in the grant service-learning. Many of the students teamed with the Mentoring/Intern program at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) in Gulfport on several projects last fall. These projects required the students to research, develop, plan and implement a Barrier Island and coastal waterways mural, Mississippi Watershed mural, Marine Liter display, a tri-panel mural of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of 2010, four state booklets on the oil spill, 10 plant booklets, and 10 plant plaque displays. The projects will be on display at IMMS to provide educational resources for touring schools, camps and visitors to the site. Other projects included developing educational booklets to be used by elementary teachers of environmental science and local marine-science topics; and projects developed for use by future students at the Jefferson Davis Campus, such as the preparation of preserved microscope slides to be used in Biology I, a highway litter display located in the science department, a laboratory safety slideshow and classification of laboratory specimens.
In addition, Jefferson Davis Campus Honors Biology students made presentations at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences annual conference in Jackson on Feb. 23. The presentations included “Mississippi Gulf Coast Coastal Waters And Barrier Islands Mural,” presented by Sana Solangi; “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Timeline: The Story Continues,” presented by Brittney Cruz; “Trail Plant Brochures for the Institute Of Marine Mammal Studies Nature Trail,” presented by Christopher Guice; “Marine Litter Decay Timeline,” presented by Bianca Lewis and Raven Supak; “Mississippi Highway Litter Decay Timeline,” presented by Joseph Koehler; “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: The Beginning of the Story,” presented by Randi Watt; “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Tri-Fold Brochures,” presented by Kishana McKnight; and “Mississippi River Watershed Educational Mural,” presented by Julia Perrett and Stephen West.
As part of the grant at the Jackson County Campus, science instructor Steven Manis had five students mentoring and tutoring fifth graders at Escatawpa Elementary School and fourth graders at College Park Elementary School in physical science, geology, botany and chemistry during the spring 2012 semester. The student teachers, Carshinqua Davidson, Jasmine Hubbard, Gigi Boettcher, Lucinda Mendoza and Angela Ewing, met with the classroom teacher to receive their assignments and then wrote a lesson plan. They administered a pre-test to students before covering the assigned material, using a variety of teaching methods such as emphasizing major points, doing hands-on demonstrations and working one on one with students. A post-material test was given to evaluate both the teaching and student-learning experience, and the five student teachers wrote reviews of their teaching experience.
The purpose of the Learn and Serve grant was to enhance students’ academic learning, their sense of social responsibility and their civic skills through service-learning, and to engage participants in meeting the unmet educational, public-safety, human and environmental needs of communities.