A Look Inside the Sandbox Lab at the Integrated Sciences Complex

Anna Fisher-Pinkert | November 10, 2015
Students study biology in the Sandbox Lab

Students study biology in the Sandbox Lab
Image by: Anna Pinkert

Economists, business leaders, and public officials from President Obama to Governor Baker to Mayor Walsh have made it clear that education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is the key to a successful future for our city, our commonwealth, and our country. But what makes a quality education in the sciences?

At UMass Boston, students are taking advantage of a new Sandbox Lab, located in the Integrated Sciences Complex. The innovative lab not only gives undergraduate students access to top-notch tools, it's also a space where they can use those tools on long-term science experiments. Like PhD students, undergraduates are able to work closely with faculty, and develop their own experiments over time. This type of autonomy not only teaches lab skills, it teaches students to think like scientists.

An undergraduate student and a PhD student fly a drone against a clear blue sky.

The sky's the limit! Phuong Le, a senior biology major in Todd Riley and Rob Stevenson's class, takes advantage of a clear day to learn to fly a drone with Etienne Cartolano, a visiting PhD student from Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Senior biology major Phuong Le operates the remote control device for a drone while Dan Jaffe and Etienne Cartolano look on.

An Integrated Approach: Proximity to Boston Harbor allows students to take advantage of hands-on experiences in the field. Here, senior biology majors Le and Dan Jaffe work with Cartolano to learn how drones might be used to survey wildlife.

Todd Riley holds a prototype made of legos while Samuel Adera looks on.

Piece by Piece: Todd Riley, assistant professor of biology, introduced the Lego Mindstorms system to his classroom to help biologists learn about the intersection of engineering and life sciences. He and senior biology major Samuel Adera are building a robot that will be able to use a pipette.

Students in the Sandbox Lab circle TA Casey Roberts Lyons, who is reviewing a paper with them.

Designed for Success: The Sandbox Lab is just one of many components of UMass Boston's strategy to help students succeed in STEM. The College of Science and Mathematics offers mentoring and guidance through its Freshman Success Communities

Tags: college of science and mathematics , csm , integrated sciences complex , isc

Comment on this story

Comments (0)