Robbie LeDesma is a Ph.D. candidate in Molecular Biology and participated in the GradFUTURES Research on the Road series.
“Research on the Road” is a fantastic science communication/public speaking event that taught me a lot about how to think about my own work when presenting to a broad audience. The alumni in attendance were incredibly helpful in their feedback, and were enthusiastic with their followup. I would recommend this opportunity to anyone.”
I also find immense satisfaction through science outreach within Princeton and the surrounding community. There are so many resources available to graduate students and the local community that are largely underutilized, such as the Council for Science and Technology's (CST) StudioLab, which is truly a creative's dream space; from 3D printers to motion capture technology, to a soldering wall and even a professional lighting and sound array, there is absolutely no experience required to get trained on their vast assortment of tools. Further, I've begun a series of seminars teaching the science of food preservation, where participants learn the micro and molecular biology of food preservation while preparing their own pickled vegetables!
Another amazing resource for learning and cultural enrichment is the Princeton University Art Museum, which has ongoing rotating exhibits that highlight masterpieces of their collection. Tours are offered by the museum on a weekly basis which give a historical and cultural perspective on objects within the collection across thousands of years and spanning the globe. In partnership with the museum, I've begun a Science in Art event series, which gives tour participants a scientific perspective, such as the chemistry behind art conservation or the pathogenesis of human tropic disease. These tours are offered on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
Lastly, I was honored to be a part of a small curatorial team that produced the temporary exhibit States of Health: Visualizing Illness and Healing which allowed me the rare opportunity to marry my passions for artwork with my expertise in molecular biology. These outreach opportunities have truly defined my experiences at Princeton, and I find enormous satisfaction in sharing these resources with others."