Jan-Feb 2014 ASCB Newsletter - page 20-21

biology approaches in Caenorhabditis elegans
to unravel the establishment of neuronal
architecture. Although these studies are within
the context of a nematode, the findings are
broadly applicable to understanding animal
neurocircuitry, including that of humans,
because of evolutionary conservation.
Ramos concluded his presentation by
emphasizing that a knowledge-based economy
requires science literacy, and that it is the
responsibility of all scientists to share their
knowledge with society. He told the audience of
his work establishing CienciaPR.org, an online
community of people with interests in science
(“ciencia” is Spanish for science) and Puerto
Rico, his homeland. He hopes that through this
social network that supports science literacy,
current and future scientists will continue to
find excitement in the exploration of our natural
—Omar A. Quintero, University of Richmond
Deborah Allen Receives Alberts
Deborah Allen of the University of Delaware,
a pioneer in problem-based learning, received
the 2013 Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in
Science Education at the ASCB Annual Meeting
in New Orleans. The award was presented
to honor Allen’s significant and sustained
contributions to biology education at the K–12,
undergraduate, and graduate level for more than
two decades.
The author of two books on problem-based
Thinking Towards Solutions: Problem-
Based Learning Activities for General Biology
The Power of Problem-Based Learning
Allen has been influential in supporting biology
disseminate that knowledge to others, society
benefits because the community of science is the
community of humanity. To illustrate this point,
Ramos noted the “golden age of science” in
which we have been living for the past century
has had a dramatic global impact, particularly
on life expectancy. Basic science discoveries,
which are often made in model organisms,
have laid the groundwork for improvements in
medicine and human health.
To become contributing members of the
global community of scientists, undergraduates
will have to transition from consumers of
knowledge to producers of it. In much of their
previous experience with science, students have
been learning what other scientists have done.
As they pursue graduate degrees and become
pioneers at the frontier of human knowledge,
students’ perspective on the pace of discovery is
going to change considerably. Ramos illustrated
this point by noting that although a catchy pop
song can be experienced quickly and might stick
with us forever, creation of such a tune takes
far more time than it takes to listen to it. In the
same way, creating new knowledge takes more
time and effort than experiencing knowledge
created by others.
This shift in roles from consumers of
knowledge to producers of knowledge will
require young scientists to gain new skills.
Ramos identified some factors that are
important for that transition—good mentors
to help build the required skills, the ability to
manage time effectively, and a passion for one’s
work. With his own graduate mentor, Sally
Kornbluth, in the audience, Ramos spoke of
how each of those factors contributed to his
success. As a neuroscientist he uses systems cell
Deborah Allen receiving the Bruce Alberts Award
Tyrone Hayes spoke at the High School program
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