UMMS well represented among Science Fair judges

Faculty, students and staff volunteer at Statewide Middle School Science Fair

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

June 07, 2012


  Twenty-six faculty, students and staff from UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center, pictured here, served as judges for the Massachusetts Statewide Middle School Science and Engineering Fair. Volunteers included Victor Ambros, PhD (back row, far right).

Judging from their numbers at the recent Massachusetts Statewide  Middle School Science and Engineering Fair, UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial faculty, staff and students are not content just to advance scientific inquiry and health care during their regular work weeks. Instead, these individuals gave up a weekend day to volunteer as judges for the science fair—and to encourage and support the generation that will succeed them.


Drawing more than 300 young competitors from across Massachusetts, the science fair was held Saturday, June 3, at Worcester Technical High School. The quality and caliber of the individual and group projects they conducted were such that the judges had their work cut out for them to select the winners.

“No other organization had more volunteers than ours,” said Sandra Mayrand, director of the Regional Science Resource Center (RSRC) at UMMS. The RSRC provides administrative facilities and services for the fair, just one of the numerous K-12 science, technology, engineering and math education and outreach initiatives it supports.

First held in 1999, the Massachusetts Middle School Science and Engineering Fair is a forum for students in grades six through eight to explore real-world science and engineering discovery through hands-on experience. Students also learn about the many exciting and emerging career opportunities in science and technology, and build valuable life skills, from reading, writing and math to communications, teamwork and design.


 Representing UMMS and UMass Memorial
as statewide middle school science fair judges were:

  • Victor R. Ambros, PhD, the Silverman Chair in Natural Sciences and professor of molecular medicine
  • Kim Barnard, manager, clinical toxicology, UMass Memorial Medical Center
  • Marc Barnard, MS, research associate, Flow Cytometry Core Laboratory
  • Cesar Lopez Camacho, PhD, post-doc, Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Cassandra Blanchette, GSBS student
  • Andrew Coles, PhD, GSBS alum
  • Darryl Conte, PhD, research assistant professor of molecular medicine
  • Christine Foley, SOM student
  • Yuly Fuentes, GSBS student
  • Cristina Garvin, UMMS volunteer
  • Nathan Garvin, SOM student
  • Heather-Lyn Haley, PhD, assistant professor of family medicine & community health


    • Sharanya Iyengar, GSBS student
    • Melissa Kasheta, lab technician, Program in Molecular Medicine
    • Anthony Lobo, project manager, UMMS Information Services
    • Mihir Metkar, GSBS student
    • Jesica Pagano-Therrien, MSN,GSN student
    • Marina Paul, GSBS student
    • Anthony Poteete, PhD, professor of microbiology & physiological systems
    • Mayuri Rege, GSBS student
  • Ashlyn Ritter, GSBS student
    , GSBS student
  • Muazzez Elif Sikoglu, PhD, post-doc, Center for Comparative Neuroimaging
  • Rose Szabady, PhD, post-doc, Microbiology & Physiological Systems
  • Li Xie, PhD, post-doc, Program in Gene Function and Expression
  • Dawn Tasillo, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology
  • Aditya Venkatesh, GSBS student