Final Report Bio Bus Post-Production

On August 8th, Bio Bus and it’s students came to Pace University to learn about and experiment with microplastics. The first activity was to study the impact of toxic consumer products on plant growth. Student groups exposed the plants to substances such as Tylenol and Windex, and put the plants on their sides to test the effects of heliotropism and gravitropism on the plants. By comparing to a control group, the students were able to measure the heliotropic growth of each plant to show how much effect the consumer products had on the plants’ ability to thrive. Some of the preliminary results of the test showed that the microplastics did impair the growth of the plants; they did not show the heliotropic growth as seen in the control group.

In another activity, Ms Jennifer Chambers from Schrödinger worked with the students to create various digital molecular structures. 

In my role as film-maker, I interviewed Ms Ashley Pirovano from Bio Bus to discuss the importance of this collaboration to provide students with the opportunity to work with scientists on real, high-level research projects. 

On August 9th, after the first round of events, the students presented all their experiments from the week to their parents and other guests at the Bio Bus Base.

I filmed these day’s events, focusing on the students conducting their tests and creating molecules. With the help of Pace Alum, Rudra Persaud, we filmed all the activities at Pace and interviewed many of the participants.

I’m now putting together all the footage of the event to create a 6-minute promotional video about the Bio Bus project for Pace highlighting the collaboration among industries, non-profits, and higher education.  Logging the footage and syncing the audio with every interview are detailed and time-consuming tasks. So far, I’ve gone through over five hours of footage and selected the most important explanations and the best reactions.  Part of the learning experience for me has been sorting out the most informative clips for what is a relatively short video.

Overall, this was an interesting and valuable project for me.  As a filmmaker and observer, I was able to see the scientific research process at work, at the same time, shari in some of the experiences the first-time student researchers were having.  It was fun to witness the students’ enthusiasm and excitement over the projects they were involved with. They were learning science by doing science, and they were contributing to our understanding of the impact of plastics on our environment.  This is an important learning experience for all involved. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of it.

Pace Promotional Video Draft

Blog 2 Bio Bus Production

Professor La Rosa and I sat down to create a full schedule for everybody involved in the event. We came up with interview questions; to find out more about the research project, I asked the following questions of all those I interviewed.

    • What’s your personal story about how you are connected to the Biobus project? Why do you want to be involved? How did you get involved?
    • Share a little about your background and how it prepared you for this project.
    • What is your role in the project, and that of your organization? Share a little bit about the significance of this collaboration (private + university + non-profit). 
    • Describe / bring to life a moment where you saw the impact of science education,  either on a college student, a younger student, or in a professional setting.
    • What does Pace / Schrodinger / Biobus see as the goal of this program? (from your group’s perspective)
    • Why science? How is outreach at the middle school level a crucial part of advancing STEM? 
    • Anything else you want to share?

We created a call sheet, which includes who is needed what day and what time and where; and everyone’s contact number and location of filming. 

So far, I have completed almost all the interviews for the Biobus project. On July 18, I went with Professor La Rosa to Schrodinger Headquarters to meet with Ms Jennifer Chambers and interview her on her collaboration with the project and the company’s software. Then, we headed over to Pace to interview Professor Chang and Alumni Rudra Persaud who will both be conducting and organizing the microplastics experiments with the middle school students on the days of the event. On July 22, Professor La Rosa, Professor Chang, and myself went to Bio Base in Harlem to meet with Dr. Franscesca Anselmi and a couple interns, Vanessa and Jane. We got to view the base, where the middle schoolers will be doing their science experiments and activities on August 9th, and then we went on the Bio Bus. We completed the interviews on the bus.

I have started logging all the film footage so far and have begun editing some of the interviews. I will continue working on the editing until August 8th, 9th, and 15th, when I will be filming the actual event with middle school students at work.  Mostly I will shoot b-roll of the students and the experiments. After the first day’s events, I will interview Ms Ashley Pirovano with Bio Bus and two Pace interns who organize the kid’s groups. 

Conducting interviews is a process that I’ve been able to learn from each time. Luckily, Professor La Rosa has assisted me for most of these interviews and I’m learning first hand through my experience with her.

A not so fun science fact I learned from Schrodinger is that we (as humans) ingest about a credit card’s worth of plastic every week. Scary. This research on microplastics has much greater personal impact than I originally expected. The finished promotional video will definitely feature the importance of urgency in this type of work the students will be studying. 


Blog 1 Bio Bus Pre-Production

My project involves the filming of the research-based program, Bio Bus. Pace’s Department of Chemistry and Physical Science collaborates with Schrödinger, LLC, a computational software company, to sponsor this event. Bio Bus is a non-profit science outreach organization dedicated to expanding access to high quality science education to underserved students throughout New York City. Twelve middle school students will engage in a week of dynamic, interactive science. “The program takes place at the Pace downtown campus in New York City, and students will tour the facilities, meet current faculty and students, and perform computer simulations. The focus will be on learning about effects of dangerous micro-plastics, which have been in headlines as a result of water contamination in oceans. We will explore how micro-plastics damage the environment and living organisms at the molecular level, showing these students how deep and long lasting environmental damage can be, and how important it is to stop pollution at its source.”

My role is to prepare, plan, and implement the filming of the documentary for this event. So far I’ve meet with the event coordinator to write an outline of the script, scheduled dates for interviews, and organized all the equipment and software needed to create the short film. My next step is to meet and interview event organizers and collaborators from Pace, Bio Bus, and Schrödinger. We are currently making a schedule to film them in mid-July. All interviews highlight the purpose and importance of teaching science and research skills to young students. Then, I will begin planning stages for filming the event on the 8th and 15th of August. Following the filming, the final phase is the post-production of the film; this includes the editing, sound mix, graphics, and color correction. The goal is to have the product done by the end of August.