Rachel Pikstein (suitable), who teaches biology and environmental science at Grand Canyon University, brought hands-on activities and guests to the Discovery Lab at Phoenix Fan Fusion.
Comic book writers have taken lots of inspiration from science and the animal and insect worlds. There is Lizard, also identified as Dr. Kurt Conners, a scientist-turned-lizard in the Spider-Man realm, and Peter Parker, an aspiring scientist bitten by a lab-manipulated spider who now has superhero powers.
But at Phoenix Fan Fusion, which wrapped up its 3-day run Sunday at the Phoenix Convention Center, fans had the opportunity to get chummy with a six-foot alligator — and to bite their teeth into some friendly, neighborhood science, thanks in portion to herpetologist and ecologist Rachel Pikstein, who teaches biology and environmental science in Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technologies.
Katelyn Rose Garcia, Education Director for the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary, worked with Pikstein to make the Discovery Lab occur at Phoenix Fan Fusion. She dressed as Gomez Addams for the occasion.
The eight-time Phoenix Fan Fusion attendee was approached ahead of the pandemic by Rebekah Brubaker to launch a science space at Fan Fusion’s Corridor of Science, education central so to speak, exactly where guests also could sit in on a slew of enjoyable science-associated panels (and get credit for teacher skilled improvement hours).
A single of the factors guests could do at the Discovery Lab was take a look at with a six-foot alligator.
Brubaker is the CEO and co-founder of RealTimeSTEAM, a nonprofit group that styles and implements educational programming on the sciences, like panel discussions, workshops and exhibits.
Fan Fusion is the group’s biggest activity of the year, with RealTimeSTEAM (the STEAM portion of the name stands for science, technologies, engineering, art and math) operating with extra than one hundred specialists to provide engaging and informative programming.
Pikstein helped Brubaker launch the science space, dubbed the Discovery Lab, in 2022 and is its director alongside Katelyn Rose Garcia, Education Director for the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary.
“Last year was so profitable with the commence of this that they gave us about twice the size this year, place all the panels in the very same hallway (as a result the hallway’s moniker, the Corridor of Science), and moved us by the front,” stated Pikstein, who along with Garcia, invites all the guests featured in the lab, from Arizona State University to Lowell Observatory.
Absolutely everyone was excited about science in the Discovery Lab at Phoenix Fan Fusion.
For this year’s Fan Fusion — the ultimate nerd-out assembly of all factors comic book, sci-fi, steam punk and fantasy — the Discovery Lab toted along not just an alligator but supplied up static displays of space specimens, taxidermied animals and bugs.
Add to that feats of engineering and a slew of hands-on activities, such as the Sink-and-Float Station, exactly where Fan Fusion attendees could discover about density.
At yet another station, guests could discover how a laptop is place collectively by seeking at a single that has been taken apart. There also was a fingerprinting station to teach science-lovers and the science-curious how their genetics make them various.
In addition to co-directing the Discovery Lab, Pikstein also spoke at two panels, a single on whales and a single on crocodiles.
Nathan Lambson of Broms Bug Box brought a bevy of insects to the Discovery Lab.
When Pikstein is not at Fan Fusion, she’s on the GCU campus teaching and mentoring students in a variety of Study and Style System research, such as a single study on tegu lizards and yet another on Indonesian rainforest plants for a guidebook to aid oil palm farmers farm in a extra rainforest-friendly way.
3 of her and her students’ study papers are set to be published this summer season.
A visitor learns about density at the Sink-and-Float Station.
Also, her lab, Pikstein Lab, became an official nonprofit two weeks ago. Hosted by GCU’s Study and Style System, it brings students study knowledge and mentoring. They also create and keep study projects, present their function at symposiums and volunteer with public outreach/education whilst operating toward scientific publication inside the fields of ecology, conservation and environmental sustainability.
It is been a busy summer season for Pikstein, but there’s normally time for a small enjoyable at Fan Fusion.
She stated, “My preferred factor about it is I get to nerd out in my preferred way, which is getting a scientist and to share this passion and really like with other folks, each colleagues and fans.”
GCU Internal Communications Manager Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.
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