Extra Credit Fire-Hazard?

Extra Credit Fire-Hazard?

Written by Cristopher Rosas, Journalist

On October 8th, during lunch, Stanford Graduate student Katrina Hounchell lectured many PGHS students on the importance of education and the application of science in the “real world.”

In the words of Honor Chemistry student Marina Leiberman (Junior), the room was filled with “a fire hazard a lot” of students. Although the high attendance could be attributed to the presentation being an extra credit opportunity, the estimated one hundred thirty students stayed for the duration of the talk.

Katrina first dabbled on the importance of furthering one’s education, specifically receiving higher degrees. She stated that going to college can “expand your horizons, help you in your job, and serve as a challenge that most would enjoy.”

Herself a Conservation Geneticist, Katrina explained that her career focuses on maintaining the genetic diversity of species to ensure their future survival. Majoring in Marine Science, Ms. Hounchell has researched sea turtles, bluefin tuna, and most recently: Coral Reefs. With these colonial creatures, Katrina and her team of scientists from Hopkins Marine Station have investigated the effect of climate change on the genetic integrity of corals. More precisely, she studies coral bleaching at a genetic level.

Coral bleaching takes place when the coral colony experiences immense stress (which can result from high temperatures). In response to their negative sensations, corals eject the algae symbiotes that provide energy in their systems, often leading to death. Along with the Strong Corals Initiative, Katrina inspects and strives to preserve the genes of corals resistant to bleaching in the hopes of assisting these species to live on.

Whether or not the extra-credit was a deciding factor in the attendance of many, PGHS was still very lucky to have heard from someone like Ms. Hounchell.

Interested? Want easy extra credit drawing tide-pool inspired art*? See a PGHS science teacher for more information.

*Art due Wednesday, October 24