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The Worm is Turning at Miller Place High School Thanks to SBU Sustainability Studies Lab

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SBU Students Emily Nocito (L) and Jacky Taylor make their presentation on earthworms to the Miller Place Science Club. (Photo by Sharon Pochron)
SBU students Emily Nocito (left) and Jacky Taylor make their presentation on earthworms to the Miller Place Science Club (photo by Sharon Pochron).

When the Miller Place High School Science Club recently asked Stony Brook to help kick off its first year of existence, a number of students in Sharon Pochron’s Sustainability Studies Earthworm Ecotoxicology Lab leapt at the opportunity.

The students spent nearly an hour at Miller Place interacting with the Club, which was initiated by Clara Tucker and Charlie Patterson.

SBU students Emily Nocito, Yaseen Khan, Jacky Taylor, Mariah Donahue, Mai Fahmy and Shamin Sahebzada described their two research projects to the high school students, and then answered questions about what it was like to study science at SBU and about what it was like to be an SBU student.

The first SBU “worm team” described the effect of the heavy metal, cadmium, on earthworm biomass and survivorship. They also described the effect of cadmium on soil microbial activity. The second team described the effect of the popular herbicide, Roundup, on the same systems.

“The team of SBU students working in the Sustainability Studies Earthworm Ecotoxicology Lab spend two semesters conducting student-driven research. They take great pride in their work, presenting it at the Earthstock Keynote address, URECA and local high schools,” said Pochron.

The Miller Place students were most interested to learn the extent to which student researchers take the lead and how much they rely upon their lab professors for guidance. Others wondered about the relative benefits of living on campus versus commuting.

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