The Graduate School and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences have recently established a partnership that provides unique opportunities and resources for NC State students. This year, students in the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) program launched their program’s third year by attending the Museum’s BugFest 2010!
Dean Duane Larick first introduced the collaboration between the Graduate School and the Museum with a two-fold advantage. The Museum provides an array of interesting resources and forums for students to present their research. In turn, NC State students now have an opportunity to reach out to everyone from school-aged children to experts in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
The partnership is not limited only to IMSD students. However, two IMSD students in Dr. Rob Dunn’s entomology lab set up a table for BugFest to share their research projects and information on bugs and insects with the public. Other IMSD students showed support for their colleagues by attending the event on behalf of the program. They not only learned more about how insects are part of our daily lives, but everyone had a chance to sample the ‘subjects’ as well!
IMSD student, Britné Hackett, is gaining hands-on experience in Dr. Dunn’s lab. She said that at the Bugfest she “. . . shared with children and adults of all ages the small wonders of insects that surround us daily. The memory of the amazement and inquisition in their eyes is enough reward to continue making new discoveries.”
But sharing research was not the only event at BugFest! According to Insects are Food, insects have served as a food source throughout the world for tens of thousands of years, and there are an estimated 1462 species of recorded edible insects. So, in keeping with that global perspective, BugFest’s Café Insecta served everything from Superworm Quesadillas to Critter Fritter to Berry Buggy Bready Pudding!
Tohan Rahhal, another IMSD student, enjoyed both BugFest and the Café! Like Britné, she believes that NC State’s collaboration with the museum is “. . . a great way to interwine us, as NC State students from a diverse background, with the community.” She found it to be “. . . a great opportunity to meet new people of all ages and for us to gain new experiences, like eating chocolate-dipped worms and cricket ice-cream. I do not think I would have ever encountered such a variety of adventures if it were not for the great collaboration between the IMSD Program and the Museum.” And Tojan’s culinary review of the chocolate-dipped worm? She claims she ate half a worm and that “. . .it wasn’t too bad, just an awful aftertaste.” But she also says that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.