Professor Ritu Sarpal, the CSB Liaison for Pursue STEM, organized an outreach event on March 14th as part of our EDI committee’s efforts to encourage minority groups to pursue higher education in the biological sciences. Pursue STEM is a program that supports Black high school students interested in STEM fields which is delivered in partnership with Leadership by Design (LBD), UofT’s Office of Student Recruitment, and other Departments within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

As part of this event, high school students were introduced to ongoing cutting-edge research activities in CSB via short talks and a tour of our imaging facility, following which they visited the Calarco, Plotnikov, and Harris labs (as shown above, in order). Kudos to our graduate students, Jeffery Stulberg, Pallavi Pilaka, Bina Sugumar, Ernest Iu, Fernando Valencia, Leo Xu, Vanessa Ghorayeb, and scientific staff members, Dr. Kenana Al Kakouni, and Audrey Chong, who made this event a big success!

When asked to comment about their CSB department visit, students responded:

“I really enjoyed the visit to the CSB department. I found it very engaging and interesting. The range of research topics and methods was cool and exciting. It was very inspiring.” 

“I most enjoyed the molecular biology lab [Plotnikov lab] and observing the worms under the microscope [Calarco lab]. All of the facilitators were so helpful and fun too!”

“I learnt a lot about the different types of model organisms. I most enjoyed viewing fibroblasts under the microscope [Plotnikov lab] and looking at fruit flies [Harris lab]”

“Events like this could help to encourage minority groups to pursue higher education in the biological sciences,” says Professor Sarpal, who is also conducting two hands-on workshops in April for Pursue STEM students to perform regeneration experiments on flatworms.