High School Biology Students Skype A Scientist

Science students from the high school engaged internationally renowned molecular biologist Dr. Clarissa Rios Rojas on her research and work with the European Union. (Photos courtesy Manchester Township School District)

MANCHESTER – Molecular biologist Dr. Clarissa Rios Rojas Skyped several Manchester Township High School science classes recently. The students gathered in the school’s auditorium to hear about Rojas’ research into how cells contribute to sex determination and how sex cells create organs.

She’s also the founder and director of Ekpa’palek, an organization that offers professional development programs to Latin American students and young professionals. The name comes from an indigenous language called Shiwilu from the Peruvian jungle and means “to help a person walking.”

Rojas, who hails from Peru, delivered her talk from The Netherlands. She recently moved there from Italy.

She’s currently working with the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service that employs scientists whose independent scientific advice shapes EU policy.

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“Rojas was selected as champion of UN Women for the economic empowerment of women, a UNESCO delegate, an emerging leader in the Atlantic Dialogues and also at the Asian Forum on Global Governance, an adviser to the Women Economic Forum and a member of the Global Young Academy,” Manchester School’s Public Information Officer Lee Bruzaitis told The Manchester Times. “Her work is also related to science diplomacy, the formulation of public policies, economic empowerment of women and global governance.”

Manchester students were able to ask questions and provided generally positive feedback about the experience to their teachers.

Manchester Township High School biology teacher Danielle Palmieri booked the event through a program at Rutgers University.