Inaugural Lab Crawl Showcases Science Center Labs

Victor Zheng

The inaugural Lab Crawl took place today in the Science Center, intending to showcase the best of the science departments.

Lab Crawl was instituted as a means to show the science building to anyone unfamiliar with it. Emily Gazda, OC ’11, the administrative assistant of the Center for Learning, Education and Research in the Sciences, was one of the primary organizers of the event.

“It’s a way to increase [the] visibility of science research that’s going on around campus,” said Gazda.  “The idea is to increase exposure for people who are interested in doing research but don’t really know how to go about it.”

Marcelo Vinces, the director of CLEAR, agreed that Lab Crawl is a way to show the Science Center to anyone unfamiliar with it.

“It’s also a good opportunity for students to talk to other students, because often the idea is that they should talk to faculty, but this is an opportunity for them to talk to fellow students [and ask] questions that they might be intimidated to talk to faculty about.”

Although attempts have been made in the past, the event had not come to fruition before this spring.

“I know in the past they’ve tried to open up labs but it hasn’t been successful,” Gazda said. “When we first tried presenting this idea, everyone was like, ‘Oh we’ve tried this before; it hasn’t worked.’ ”

According to Vinces, CLEAR was founded on a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant.

“Part of the discussion included doing something more public, along the lines of an open house. Brainstorming with [Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences] Sean Decatur and other members of the committee, we came up with the idea of this Lab Crawl.”

Both Gazda and Vinces said that the success of this year’s crawl lies largely in the greater number of volunteers and advertisements. The organizers also said they both sought to create an event of impact, as opposed to an isolated publicity stunt.

“We’re including every single science department, we put out an invitation to every single science faculty member, we’re providing raffle prizes [and] we’ve been advertising on a scale that hasn’t been done before,” Gazda explained.

If the high levels of enthusiasm continue, Vinces and Gazda anticipate the event will earn an annual spot on the calendar.