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Gail S. Tucker, Ph.D.
Project Coordinator

E-Mail for Gail: gtucgrif@earthlink.net

Gail is from the Bronx in New York City, where she survived 12 years of parochial school education. The discipline and nurturing she received--from talented women teachers, capable in science--made her see any goal as possible, regardless of her sex. She was "a city slicker" whose earliest memories include the T. Rex at the Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium and voracious reading cover-to-cover of National Geographic. At the family cottage in Connecticut she fished bluegill and yellow perch, caught lightning bugs, stalked wild foxes, made pinebough bows and arrows, and identified plants in the Connecticut woods she roamed. For children who enjoy such things, she recommmends Dietrich Knickerbocker's New York by Washington Irving. The illuminated pages of a special edition of that book showed every imaginable plant and animal common to temperate forests. This was her first exposure to species diversity, identification and classification--which encouraged her abiding interest in nature. Each summer at her grandparents' farm in New Hampshire she chopped wood for cooking and heating stoves, picked beans for supper, collected eggs and milked cows and took in the hayin'. She rescued the requisite injured squirrels and birds, watched insect pupae and learned to catch fish the "Indian" way--standing VERY still near the shore while wiggling her fingers in the water to attract fish (well it worked at least once!); she did high school science projects on animal behavior (her pet cat may have been permanently traumatized by her study on maze learning), on firefly behavior--her observations were later referred to in an article on Firefly cannibalism; on bioluminescence for which she was awarded a four year college scholarship in New York. The plan was to attend college pre-med and then veterinary school. She was accepted provisionally at K. State School of Veterinary Medicine. Required to attend graduate school for one year, she chose the University of Kansas where she participated in verbal jousting with other graduate students; the challenging qualifying examinations for the doctoral program; chose her doctoral advisor and saw the exciting prospects provided by advanced courses in embryology. Vet school had been a good idea, but she discovered that she was allergic to furbearers, and this proved to be the deciding factor in her pursuit of a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology. While at KU she assisted in a team-taught mammalian physiology course under the direction of Dr. Frederick Samson, whose SciTalk, "Antioxidants and Aging" is archived here. Always exciting and enthusiastic in the classroom he was one of her role models as a teacher, and remains a friend and mentor today. After completing her research at Woods Hole, she obtained her Ph.D. from KU in 1973.

Post-doctoral appointments at Columbia and Harvard followed, and faculty appointments at her undergraduate alma mater, at the University of Miami (FL) and Miami-Dade Community College. Her home for the last twelve years has been New World School of the Arts High School in Miami. New World, a National School of Excellence, has turned out graduates who are already achieving fame in the arts world. The special circumstances of this school enable a teacher to teach and to try new things, to enjoy the learning environment and to explore problems with realistic expectations that they will be solved. Happily, many of her students have gone on to medical school and research careers--a tribute to New World's science department faculty. In 1994, Gail was one of the "first class" of AE Fellows--remaining active online in the Southeastern group established at the first summit. Over the years her students have participated in Biome Box exchanges, Telegenetics studies, message boards, realtime online chats, Acid Rain studies and pond pH studies. In 1995 she organized two realtime chats online (archived here in SciTalk) with Dr. Samuel Gruber who is an internationally respected shark scientist at the University of Miami Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. In 1996 she was an AE Returning Fellow and later that year she became SciTalk Coordinator. She received a Tandy Honorable Mention in 1996 and a Tandy Fellowship in 1997, has been active on her school's Technology and Awards Committees, sponsors two award-winning service clubs, and has been Chairman of the Science Department there for three years. She and her husband Bob (Griffith) share parenting of her college sophomore stepdaughter Julie (who has recently declared her major as Genetics with a minor in Business Administration--Genentech here she comes!) and their ferret--Clyde; they recently went live with an online collectibles business, and to relax enjoy South Florida's weather and its special coastal environment.


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