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Kenan Fellows’ Voices: Willis Foster

My experience as a Kenan Fellow has been an unexpected adventure.  Since becoming an educator, I have not gone through any other professional development program that has served as both an inspiration and motivation.
This summer I interned at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences with Dr. Dan Fergus as part of the Students Discover citizen science project, “Pouring Over Our Pore Mites”.
My fellow Teacher-Scientists were Maribeth Evans and Kayla Norville. Together, we investigated several aspects of Demodex face mite biology that we will share with our students. 
One is the possible connection between Demodex mites and the skin condition called rosacea. It is not clear, but the thought is that some of the bacteria that cause skin inflammation associated with rosacea reside inside of the mites. Another aspect we discussed over the summer is that of mite absence and presence, particularly on people under 18 years old.  We also talked about mite phylogeny.

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The Kenan Fellows Program is an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science, and is generously supported by grants from business, foundations, government organizations, and individual partners.