The education goals of the Shao group are to engage a large and diverse cohort of participants through scientific discovery and provide education to foster the next generation of scientists in developing knowledge to benefit the whole society.

Carmen participated in the Trinect program to facilitate K-12 education

Carmen was selected as one of the recipients of the Trinect Fellowship to help support Des Moines Public School curriculum. She has been cooperating with 3rd – 5th-grade teachers to incorporate engineering concepts into class material. The whole program was funded by NSF, aiming to create a new model to enhance elementary teachers’ preparedness to teach STEM subjects. Look forward to seeing a broader impact of our efforts!

Freshman Research Initiative (FRI)

Dr. Shao participates in the Biorenewable Resources Research Stream of the FRI program, which aims to transform the traditional laboratory curricula for first- and second-year students and engage them in authentic research. Recognizing numerous benefits of advancing students’ knowledge by hands-on experience and engaging them in critical thinking at the very early stage, Shao plans to relay this impact through Sophomore Research Initiative, involving the FRI alumni in more challenging research topics.

ISU CBE faculty involved in outreach program at Saylorville Visitor Center Theater

Dr. Jarboe, Dr. Mansell, and Dr. Shao participated in the Iowa Academy of Science 2017 Speaker Series, discussing with the public audience about building biological factories for the production of medicines, fuels, and chemicals.

Actively working with REU students and RET teachers

Anderson (Carlisle High School, “Modulating Gene Expression through Genetic Context”, CBiRC RET, 2017)

Emma House (Wayne State University, “Multilevel Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the Production of Muconic Acid from Glucose”, CBiRC REU, 2016)

Dana Tribby (University of Minnesota at Duluth, “Promoter Characterization in Scheffersomyces stipitis”, CBiRC REU, 2015)

Elaine Butler (Grand View University, “Developing a Fatty Acid Sensor Based on FadR Crystal Structure”, CBiRC REU, 2014)

Nam Nguyen (Des Moines Area Community College, “Increasing Muconic Acid Production in the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae”, BioMaP REU, 2014)

Working with the High-school student in Young Engineers and Scientists (YES) program

As a Pre-College Program offered by the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals at ISU, YES helps high school students align their science interests with research labs. Nick Leung from Ames High School, worked with a graduate student, on a project entitled “Designing Novel Fatty Acid Sensors for High Throughput Product Profiling” in the Fall of 2015.

EPSCoR-Ames Summer Enrichment

With the assistance of 2 undergraduates, Korey Gramenz and Laurel Limaye, Shao designed a ‘Bacteria Club’ for a group of 45 3rd and 4th graders, mostly from minority populations and low-income families. The club taught topics including the classification of beneficial and harmful bacteria, microscopy, infection prevention, and antibiotic mechanisms of action. The students were very excited about being directly involved in culturing bacteria and performing experiments to evaluate bacterial resistance to various antibiotics.

Judge for State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI)

Each March, the SSTFI brings together approximately 700 pre-collegiate students from all over Iowa to participate in a STEM poster competition. The PI interacts with the young researchers, evaluates their presentations, gives valuable feedback, and awards prizes for top projects.