Hannah Spector standing in front of some apple trees.


Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

Major: Biotech and Biomedical Sciences BS

Hannah, a third-year Biotech and Biomedical Sciences major at the Rochester Institute of Technology, plans to follow in her father’s footsteps by going to medical school. Her original plans to work in a hospital this summer fell through due to the pandemic, but fortunately there was a great opportunity for her in the REU Program.

Hannah had already been working in the MBER lab with Drs. Dina Newman and Kate Wright for nearly two years. Through the summer REU program she is able to continue to work on her research project investigating student thinking about molecular biology. She is part of a team that designed and tested a novel card-sorting task to compare expert and novice thinking about visual representations. In general, novices focus on surface features of drawings, but with more experience, they try to group cards based on conceptual similarities. Hannah is currently exploring unexpected pairings made by both students and faculty. Her work will be included in a presentation this summer at the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research’s virtual conference.

Hannah is enjoying the REU program. She is pleased at the connections made between REU students, allowing for reflective times and bonding, even during this virtual time.