Faculty in the News In the News

May 29, 2014 at 9:52 am

To Tech Savvy and Beyond: AAUW Member Sends Her Research into Space

Shifra Narasimhan, left and Abigail Tadlock learn to build a simple circuit during the Tech Savvy workshop at Ohio University May 17, 2014. The event exposes girls from sixth through ninth grade to thee field of science, technology, engineering and math. Photo by Ohio University / Jonathan Adams

Shifra Narasimhan, left and Abigail Tadlock learn to build a simple circuit during the Tech Savvy workshop at Ohio University May 17, 2014. The event exposes girls from sixth through ninth grade to thee field of science, technology, engineering and math. Photo by Ohio University / Jonathan Adams

A May 28 post on the American Association of University Women (AAUW) blog captured the energy of Tech Savvy, a new program for middle school girls and their parents. Ohio University was one of the pilot programs this spring, and Dr. Sarah Wyatt, Professor of Environmental & Plant Biology, gave the keynote and organized the Tech Savvy event.

Sarah Wyatt celebrated her 11th birthday by watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon in 1969. She stayed up past her bedtime for this monumental event, never thinking that someday she would be part of a trip into space.

But this December Wyatt will send her research into orbit as part of NASA’s International Space Station flight experiments. Her project is one of 31 proposals that NASA’s space biology program will fund to understand how changes in gravity affect cells, plants, and animals. Wyatt’s experiment will explore how plants and plant proteins respond to the space flight environment, adding to her larger body of work on plant biology and how those organisms react to various environments.

As Wyatt explained, when humans are outside and it gets chilly, they can simply go indoors and put on a sweater; plants cannot. She hopes to explore what it is that plants do to survive in an unfamiliar and changing environment.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since our founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political.

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