Event Highlights

PRISM has sponsored many outings and events over the last few years, in order to provide science enrichment and hands-on experiences to current and prospective students.  These activities allow partner students in the CUNY Justice Academy, promising John Jay underclassmen, and current PRISM students to meet each other, experience new things together, and share their common interests.

PRISM Visits the Discovery Center in Times Square for “Body Worlds: Pulse” Exhibit

During spring break in April 2015, partner students in the CUNY Justice Academy came together with current and prospective PRISM students to visit a unique museum in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square.

Body WorldsStudents met at the Discovery Center and then toured the museum that houses “Body Worlds: Pulse.”  This remarkable scientific exhibit allows visitors to view actual human tissues, organs, and whole specimens that have been preserved by the process of “plastination.”  Plastination halts the decomposition process in such a manner that allows us to view and learn so much about the form and function of the various systems in the human body.

Our group members with biology interests were of course fascinated by the specimens on display and all that could be learned about anatomy and physiology this day.  Our budding chemists, too, were inspired by the plastination process, which makes this exhibit possible only through a deep understanding of the chemical interactions between polymers and bodily fluids.

PRISM Outing to Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) in Suffolk County

BNL webOver winter break in January 2015, a group of partner CJA students joined with current and prospective PRISM students to venture out by chartered bus to Brookhaven Nation Lab in Suffolk County.  This facility has a remarkable history of providing facilities and equipment so that the world’s leading scientists can perform ground-breaking research.  It is the only national lab in the U.S. Northeast and it is part of the Department of Science in the US Department of Energy.  Click here for a fact sheet about BNL.

We learned about BNL’s rich history of scientific discoveries.  BNL researchers were responsible for the development of L-Dopa, used to treat Parkinson’s disease, the discovery of the subatomic muon-neutrino particle, and the creation of the first ever video game!  There have been countless other advances, leading to seven Nobel prizes.  Click here to learn more about BNL’s contributions.

BNL 1 (2)During our visit, we went on tours of several building and laboratories.  One of our stops was the National Synchotron Light Source II, a source of intense x-ray, infrared, and UV-light for studying materials and biological samples.  We also visited the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, where we were permitted to peek into labs to view scientists in “clean rooms” working on materials on the order of billionths of a meter.  Part of our visit to BNL included a hands-on activity to determine radioactivity levels, led by members of BNL’s Homeland Security department who also train police officers in similar techniques.

Click here for more pictures from our visit.


PRISM Outing to Thomas Edison’s Laboratory Complex in West Orange, NJ

Edison Labs Outing

Group Picture!

On Saturday, November 15, PRISM took an eager group of John Jay and partner CJA students across the river to West Orange, NJ, where we were able to visit the beautifully preserved laboratory complex of Thomas Edison. Edison spent his adult life there, where he established his largest lab complex.  The complex is meticulously preserved and honored by the National Park Service.  We were given a ranger-led tour of all facilities, so that we could learn the stories and origins behind one of the 20th century’s greatest scientists and inventors.

Edison Labs Outing

This is the chemistry lab, preserved in its original layout with original materials and equipment. We learned that the safety protocols weren’t quite as stringent as one would expect today!


Edison Labs Outing

These hallways were full of artifacts and samples that documented so many of Edison’s brilliant concepts – the first talking doll, movies, the phonograph, and even something that resembled the first ever panini press!








         For more pictures from the exciting trip, click here!

PRISM Hosts Annual Introduction to Forensics Seminar

20140821-DSC_8090PRISM once again held its annual Introduction to Forensics seminar, designed to whet the appetites of underclassmen at JJC and our partner community colleges.  A total of 18 students attended the seminar, 5 promising post-first year students from John Jay and 13 community college partner students representing each of our five CJA schools (QCC, BMCC, BCC, KBCC, and Hostos). The seminar was led by veteran JJC adjunct professor, Alison Domzalski, and lab techs, Yessenia Lopez, Kitty Law, and Teesha Narayne.

The seminar, which ran for three days, August 19-21, gave students a better understanding of what forensic science entails and got them thinking now about a major track and an area of research.  Each day was dedicated to a different track in the forensic science major:  Day 1 – Molecular Biology, Day 2 – Criminalistics, and Day 3 – Toxicology.   PRISM plans to sponsor this seminar again next summer!

For more pictures from this event, click here.  Many thanks to instructor Domzalski for providing many of these great snapshots that showcase the seminar.

PRISM Visits the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

During Spring Break in April 2014, John Jay students and CUNY Justice Academy students came together to visit the AMNH for some special exhibits.

CJA Forensics Majors work as a team to participate in a forensic anthropology lab investigation.

CJA Forensics Majors work as a team to participate in a forensic anthropology lab investigation.

The outing started with a lab investigation related to forensic anthropology.  Students worked in small teams to examine morphological evidence, such as pelvic bones in an attempt to determine the gender and age of an “unidentified body.”

The second scheduled stop was to the Poison exhibit.  Students were able to learn about various poisons and toxins that exist in nature and in history, some of which have contributed to suspicious deaths or environmental problems. They also heard about poisons that have inspired literature and folklore.

Part of the AMNH's special exhibit on POISON.

Part of the AMNH’s special exhibit on POISON.

One of the stars of this exhibit was mercury, a toxin investigated by several of our PRISM researchers who work with Dr. Carpi and Dr. Brown.  This particularly exhibit was a big hit with the toxicology track students of course!

Partner students from the CUNY Justice Academy (CJA) were able to mix and mingle with each other and with PRISM coordinators during the intervals before and after scheduled exhibits. For additional pictures from the outing, click here.



PRISM Visits the 92nd St Y for “The Neuroscience of Genius”

On the evening of March 6, PRISM students and partner community college students in the CUNY Justice Academy came together for a panel discussion at the 92nd St Y.  The panelists included Michio Kaku, Antonio Damasio, and JoAnn Deak.   The three experts discussed, sometimes even argued, about what constitutes a “genius.”  They addressed our preconceived notions about genius and revealed the status of cutting edge research to implant memories and even skills into the human brain.


PRISM History of Sponsored Events

  • 2014/2015 – Thomas Edison’s Laboratory Complex, Brookhaven National Laboratory Tours, Body Worlds: Pulse Museum, 92nd St Y Panel Discussion on “Neuroscience of Creativity”
  • 2013/2014 – American Museum of Natural History, Lecture at 92nd St Y – “Genius of Science,” Cold Spring Harbor Research Facility, Introduction to Forensics Seminar
  • 2012/2013 – Bronx Zoo – Wildlife Forensics Focus, NYAS Lecture, Westchester Crime Lab, Introduction to Forensics Seminar
  • 2011/2012 – American Museum of Natural History, Introduction to Forensics Seminar




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