Navy Researcher Gets High Marks for STEM Presentation from Students at Hagerstown Community College
Cmdr. Guillermo Pimentel received rave reviews from high school students participating in the Hagerstown Community College Biotechnology Summer Institute in Hagerstown, Md., July 18. During his two hour presentation, Pimentel, the deputy director of the Naval Medical Research Center Biological Defense Research Directorate located at Fort Detrick in Maryland, provided an overview of laboratory based surveillance of infectious diseases. He shared stories about his career that has taken him around the world to include seven years at the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 in Cairo, Egypt.
The advanced high school students were selected to take part in an eight week competitive program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and HCC. The Biotechnology Summer Institute is a unique opportunity for high school students to get a head-start on earning college credit while exploring careers in biotechnology; the students will earn seven college science credits. During his presentation Pimentel also talked about career paths in biotechnology including the role of clinical microbiologists working on global health issues.
"It was a great honor and pleasure to present my field stories to such a smart group of high school students. My ultimate goal was to plant a seed in these students and to challenge them in using biotechnology to address multiple infectious disease problems in all sort of austere environments", said Pimentel. "I hope this opportunity will repeat itself next year. This is a great opportunity for a Navy microbiologist to showcase our outstanding contribution to science. I am looking forward to working with Hagerstown Community College."
Mylynh Nguyen, the HCC biotechnology advisor who coordinated the summer program told Pimentel that he provided a fascinating presentation for the students.
"The insights you shared from your research and military experience really captured the students' attention and have undoubtedly fueled their interest in pursuing careers in science," Nguyen told Cmdr. Pimentel. "I think the overarching themes of public service and making an impact on society through scientific research really resonated with the students. The clinical microbiology and epidemiology stories from the field were all very interesting, and we are fortunate that you were able to share a few examples with the students. I especially appreciated the history that you shared about pathogens, scientists, and surveillance techniques."
Researchers at NMRC BDRD, established in 1992, work to advance research and develop therapeutics to protect the warfighter and the nation against biological attacks. BDRD personnel are very proud of their contribution to the biodefense of our nation and are actively engaged in STEM outreach to include working with local schools, judging science fairs, and providing lectures in basic and advanced scientific topics.