A Trip to the DAR Jubilee Forest

DSC_0007A beautiful Veteran’s Day trip to the newly re-discovered DAR Jubilee Forest near Devil’s Courthouse yielded acres of the elusive red spruce.  Most of the trees looked healthy, although some adults were bare. There were also quite a few seedlings to be found–a great sign!

It will be exciting to see what mycorrhizae Hannah and Emily can isolate from the roots of these trees!

A minor planet is named after a Brevard High School Student!

DSC00037Minor Planet 31631 has been named “Abbywilliams” in honor of BHS TIME student Abby Williams who, along with her partner Carly Onnink, won 2nd place in the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  MIT Lincoln Laboratory has partnered with Intel ISEF’s Society for Science & the Public to promote science education through the Ceres Connection program.  More information on the minor planet (main-belt asteroid) Abbywilliams can be found at this NASA link.

Fewer than 15,000 people share the honor of having a minor planet named after them. The process of naming a minor planet follows a well-defined sequence of events.  After a minor planet receives a permanent designation or number, the discoverer of the minor planet has 10 years to propose a name for it. Once the name is proposed, the 13-member, international Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature must judge and approve the name. Contrary to some media reports, it is not possible to buy a minor planet.


TIME Represents at NCJSHS

DSC00709Congratulations to the TIME 4 Real Science students who represented Brevard High School at the North Carolina Junior Science and Humanities Symposium on Monday.  Sam Farrar, Carver Nichols, Crista Cali, Ryan Holland, Allie Reece and Lauren Tooley were selected to present their research in the poster competition.  Carly Onnink was one of the top ten students statewide chosen to give an oral presentation and placed fourth during the competition for her project, “Electroantennogram assays to determine Megacopta cribraria response to [E]-2-hexenal, tridecane, and [E]-2-decenal.”  Ryan was awarded 3rd place in the poster competition for his project “Screening Local Lignicolous Fungi for Lignin Degrading Enzymes.”  Ryan will represent NC at the national competition in Washington, DC in April. Great job!


Hemlock Woolly Adelgid VIDEO!

 You are watching a hemlock woolly adelgid that has been carefully removed from an Eastern Carolina hemlock branch in Brevard, NC during October of 2014. The video was taken through the eyepiece of a stereoscope on 40x magnification. I have never seen anything like this–have you? This video was taken by Lauren, a student in the TIME 4 Real Science program at Brevard High School. Lauren and her partner Allie are studying the effects of antibiotics on the mortality of the hemlock woolly adelgid.

TIME Students Help Build NC Western Region Student Academy of Science


ncsasThe Student Academy of Science fosters interaction between student researchers and scientists.  The NCSAS competition is distinctive in requiring both a paper and an oral presentation, much like a professional science conference. The competition also provides an opportunity for students to receive constructive feedback from research scientists who judged their projects. Students who place first in their category at NCSAS are invited to attend the national American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, where they present their work to their peers, scientists and science enthusiasts from across the country.  These students represent North Carolina and are inducted into the American Junior Academy of Science. wnc counties

In 2011, there was no representation at the North Carolina Student Academy of Science from the western region.  The western region, also known as District 8, includes Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey counties.

2012 AJAS inductees - SmallIn 2012, three TIME 4 Real Science students from Transylvania County competed in the NC Western Region Student Academy of Science, advancing to the state and national meetings.  Kaitlin McCreery presented her work on the “Investigation of the germination of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis zoospores at low cell densities,” where she explored cellular mechanisms of Bd fungus, the pathogen killing amphibians world-wide.  Kris Petterson and Erika Williams presented their research on the “Isolation, identification and characterization of endophytes from Cherokee medicinal plants.”  Endophytes are bacteria or fungi that live symbiotically within or between the cell walls of plants, conferring a competitive advantage on their hosts.  These young women scientists were inducted into AJAS at the historic Boston Library.

AJAS 2014In 2013, thirteen students from the TIME program presented their work at the western region meeting of the Student Academy of Science.  All thirteen advanced to the state competition, with one team advancing to the national meeting.  Abby Williams and Carly Onnink presented their work on “Olfactometer Assays to Determine an Effective Pheromone Trap Bait for the Bean Plataspid,” a new invasive stink bug in Transylvania County.  They were inducted into AJAS at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

DSC00601In 2014, twenty-one students from Transylvania County’s TIME program and three students from Robbinsville High School competed at the western region meeting of the Student Academy of Science.  All twenty-four students advanced to the state competition, with one team advancing to the national meeting.  Lianne Duscio and Garland Joseph competed with their project, “Antioxidant and anti-tumor effects of the berries from Elaeagnus umbellata and Lindera benzoin,” in which they explored medicinal properties of both native and invasive species.  Duscio and Joseph were inducted into AJAS in  San Jose, California.

On February 27, 2105, twenty-two Transylvania County TIME students and seven students from Asheville High School’s SILSA program participated in the western region Student Academy of Science competition.  All students will advance to the state competition in March.

SAS 2015 - All Students Cropped - Small



Do YOU know the way to San Jose?

Well, Lianne Duscio and Garland Joseph do!  It is through SCIENCE!

DSC00571Lianne Duscio and Garland Joseph, sophomores from Brevard High School, traveled to San Jose, California last week to present their science research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting.  The AAAS seeks to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” This year’s AAAS Conference was attended by over 10,000 scientists and science enthusiasts from around the country.

Duscio and Joseph presented their research at the meeting during a poster session and an oral presentation.  The students were awarded the honor to attend the conference when they won first place in the Biological Sciences category at last year’s North Carolina Student Academy of Science (NCSAS) for their project, “Testing for Antioxidants, Vitamin C and Antitumor Properties of Berries from Autumn Olive and Spicebush.”

According to Duscio, the girls had many opportunities on the trip.  “We were able to go to a breakfast with scientists and meet practicing scientists.  It was great to hear their stories and how they got to this point in their life.  It was inspiring!  This could be our future too!”

Joseph agreed.  “One highlight was when we got to go to Google and meet Vint Cerf, one of the ‘fathers of the internet’, and discuss the history and new innovations.”

“The speakers at the conference were amazing!” said Joseph.  Dr. Gerald Fink, AAAS president, was far from the stereotypical boring lecturer.  “Dr. Fink had a great sense of humor, presenting a very interesting turtle picture and a Star Trek reference as part of his scientific talk.”

Duscio added that Dr. Jamie Vernon, editor in chief of Sigma Xi’s  American Scientist, “was really helpful.  He gave suggestions about pursuing a life in science, and things to keep in mind as we start to make decisions about what we want to do with our lives.”

DSC00601Both Duscio and Joseph said that the best part of the trip was “meeting other students from across the nation and talking to them about their projects.  It was especially fun getting to know all of the students from North Carolina!” During the final banquet Duscio and Joseph were inducted into the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS) alongside the 156 other student delegates.

Duscio and Joseph have many people to thank for their success.  Retired scientist volunteer Dr. Kent Wilcox mentored the girls throughout their project.  “He was so helpful with finding different assays that could be used to test our berries.  We had not taken biology or chemistry when we did this project and Dr. Wilcox helped us understand the science concepts involved.  Without Dr. Wilcox, none of this would have been possible.”

Jennifer Williams, the students’ science research teacher, travelled with the girls to the conference, acting as chaperone for the 12 North Carolina AJAS delegates.

Funding for the students’ trip was provided by generous donations from the Brevard chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (NCSAS sponsor).

Sam HOPS from paper to the net to help define his TIME research project…

DSC00232Big butcher paper and Crayola markers for brainstorming in conjunction with a Google Chromebook for connecting to relevant research and researchers.  This is how it all starts…an interest in HOPS and the drive to find a local question that NEEDS to be answered. Connections with researchers are crucial! Today Sam spent some TIME drafting an email to Dr. Jeanine Davis with the NC Cooperative Extension. As the N.C. Specialty Crops Program Coordinator, Dr. Davis has supervised an experimental hops field at the Mountain Research Station in Fletcher, NC. Talking to a researcher in the field?  Invaluable!

Wilcox in the House

DSC00227The TIME program would not be what it is today without our awesome scientist and community volunteers!  Topping the list?  Dr. Kent Wilcox, retired microbiology professor.  Wilcox has been an integral part of the TIME program since it began in 2007.  Acting as student mentor, science consultant and overall program advisor, Wilcox is FUNdamental to program success.  Whether working with students to brainstorm project ideas, assess feasibility, develop protocols, or challenge assertions, Wilcox adds both inspiration and rigor.  In the photos you see Allie, Hannah, Ingrid and Dr. Wilcox explore hemlock branches for signs of the hemlock woolly adelgid.


TIME for Blue Devil Pride in the Research Lab

What are most high school students doing this summer?  Let’s see… a beach trip, sleeping late, hanging out, sports practice, work?  Our TIME Research Students are doing much more!  Embarrassed by old desks cluttered with graffiti, 3rd year TIME student Cameron demanded that we change things.  After all, we need an environment conducive to top-notch research!  Cameron initiated a green project to refurbish ancient desks into what are now quite beautiful pieces of work.  Thanks to Cameron, Sam, Abby, Eliza, Ryu, Carly, and Allie for donating TIME and lots of hard work this summer!  It looks great!  PICS to come…


You just can’t keep them away…TIME after TIME

DSC00222Earlier this summer I received an email from Cade…
“I’m having a bit of trouble with a circuit I designed for my coil, and I need some help from someone who knows what they’re doing… If I was able to set up a meeting with Mr Dubois, could I use BHS as a meeting place? I just need a place for an oscilloscope.”  Cade, a junior at Rosman High School, is a
former TIME student who just can’t shake the urge to DO MORE SCIENCE!  He spent a
few hours this summer working with Dubois, his former TIME project mentor, and recently let us know about his progress.  “It’s going pretty well, I only have to wire grounding and order a few replacement parts for the driver board.  Then I can start tuning and testing!  The circuit you helped me build works like a charm and the fiber optics work flawlessly. Attached are some pictures of various stages of assembly that show my setup pretty well.  The large transistors are rated 300 amps continuous at 1200 volts, so they are huge!”  See the work in progress below.

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