“Like sushi? You’re going to love this.” That was the hook to an intriguing story about fertility and zebrafish research happening at Montclair State University. As told by the student researchers involved with the project, their style of scientific storytelling earned them the top prize in the University’s Mario M. Casabona Future Scientists Awards competition, which recognizes students for making research more understandable and accessible.
Being an effective science communicator is more important than ever in explaining the work science researchers do, why they do and why it matters, says Melissa Spigelman ’23, a first-year graduate student in Molecular Biology. She’s among the team that sees potential in their research with the zebrafish in advancing fertility and women’s health.
I do really impactful research. But I realize that no one’s going to use my discovery or care about my discovery if I can’t adequately explain my discovery.
Mario M. Casabona, an entrepreneur and active angel investor, has fostered the training of well-told stories at Montclair. Through his involvement with – and support for – the College of Science and Mathematics, Casabona helps promote student experiential learning across a broad array of STEM fields and has provided the philanthropic investment needed to launch the communication competition, encouraging students to enhance the presentation skills that are essential for explaining ideas to non-science audiences.
2023 Casabona Winners
- Like sushi? You’re going to love this
Wendy E. Islas, BS in Molecular Biology, and Melissa Spigelman, MS in Molecular Biology, mentored by Professor Carlos Molina, Department of Biology
- Creating an Immersive and Interactive VR Game for Advancing Elementary Education
Anthony Condegni, BS in Computer Science, Jianna Loor, MS in Computer Science, mentored by Assistant Professor Rui Li, School of Computing
- A potential TB target
Uchenna Ezichi, MS in Chemistry, Citlaly Hernandez, BS in Biochemistry, Crystal Montero, MS in Pharmaceutical Biochemistry, mentored by Professor Nina Goodey, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Story by Staff Writer Marilyn Joyce Lehren. Photos by John J. LaRosa