This is a guest post from the 2017 U.S. State Department WiSci Girls STEAM Camp which took place in Malawi, Africa.
By Munayani Cecilia Banda, 17, Lusaka, Zambia
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is a branch that deals with research on microorganisms and conduct tests on the same topic. My experience during the workshop has been on a professional scale of doing my best and learning as much as possible.
These comprised of understanding that microbiology is the study of small organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye. We learned about the different types of organisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and even parasites! This session was really interesting to me because I had the opportunity to understand the organisms' similarities and differences.
During the lecture, we focused our discussions on bacteria in relation to and the positive and negative aspects of the organisms on plants. They assist in degrading pollutants before reaching water among other things. On the other hand, they can cause serious damage to plants. I also learned that rhizosphere is where most of the interaction of plants and microorganisms happen.
Using the microscopes, I got to see the cultured swabs from my mouth as specimen. Then came the gramstaining process which I enjoyed entirely! We got samples from different decaying food stuffs and I actually grew my own bacteria! I was fascinated at the point when we assembled microscopes and made them work using our phones!
The facilitators were helpful and patient with all of us. They were clear and dealt with us on both proffessional and social levels.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED
First, I have been exposed to practical and hands-on learning experiences which I may not have had elsewhere. Second, the lectures were helpful and assisted me to understanding that life is connected at the end of the day. Then last but not the least, I am encouraged to study bio-engineering and specialize in microbiology!
I will certainly keep what I have learned here like treasure and plan to introduce the microscope in my school!