Two Hiram College juniors recently traveled to Washington, D.C. alongside Professor of Biology Denny Taylor, Ph.D., to present on Capitol Hill.
Isabella Williams ’17, Spanish and biomedical humanities major of Ellwood City, Pa., and Matthew Wright ’17, biomedical humanities major of Richfield, Ohio, shared the work they did this summer, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, at the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement’s Washington Symposium, Sept. 27-29, 2015.
Hiram, in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University, The Shoals Marine Laboratory and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, received a federal grant from the Department of State in October 2014 totaling $492,309, to help build bridges between local high schools students and their international peers from Pakistan. Through the grant, Cleveland-area and Pakistani high school students and teachers spent several weeks together during summer 2015 (at Hiram College and partner institutions), exploring ways to address the international water crisis from the ground up. The Hiram students, Williams and Wright, served as “near peer mentors” to the high school students.
Williams and Wright, as they presented on Capitol Hill, were in the company of leaders and professionals from universities, zoos, conservation societies and more. All presentations focused on how science education can help address real world problems and increase civic responsibility.
“It was a pretty humbling experience, though it gave me a great deal of inspiration and confidence in myself,” said Wright. “As we presented in the Capitol Building, there were numerous professionals in charge of expansive and revolutionary projects, and we received the privilege to speak with and hear about their work. Despite their high esteem, they all went out of their way to meet us, speak to us about our work and to collaborate with us as equals.”
Dr. Taylor, who led the summer collaboration between Cleveland and Pakistani schools, also presented a second poster, about his work with Counterpart International in the Dominican Republic. There, Dr. Taylor and colleagues have partnered with several schools and organizations to increase climate resiliency.