Genetics and Microbiology Classes at SCW Compete in First Annual Bacterial Holiday Plate Contest 

By: Sima Greenberg  |  December 7, 2021

By Sima Greenberg

On Wednesday, December 1, 2021, on the third day of Chanukah, the Yeshiva University Biology Department hosted a Chanukah-Themed Agar Plate Competition.

Dr. Babich’s Genetics class competed against Dr. Schuck’s Microbiology class. The representatives of Team Genetics included: Talia Tarzik, Rachel Sarraf, Shayna Dessau, Avigail Schiff, Rachel Sarraf, Alia Hakakian, Leia Rubinstein, Temima Yellin, Diana Gindi, Ariana Matthew, and Atara Neugroschl. Team Microbiology included: Adena Goldstein, Leeba Sullivan, Sandy Shaoolian, Ellie Berger, and Elizabeth Kershteyn.

The provided materials included the organisms Serratia marcescens, Micrococcus luteus, E. coli and a choice of TSA and DNA agar plates. Using the given organisms and their advanced biology laboratory skills, each team was tasked to inoculate a design in honor of Chanukah. After the event, each participant was given a certificate and trophy. As a member of both classes, Shoshanah Marcus (SCW ‘22) reviewed the results and announced Team Genetics as the winning team. The Genetics class received a prize of Chanukah chocolates for their victory. Leeba Sullivan (SCW ‘22) from the Microbiology class was the winner of the grand prize: a sumptuous meal in the SCW cafeteria, courtesy of the Biology Department!

The balance of technique, passion, and teamwork all in the spirit of a Jewish holiday made this fantastic activity unique to Yeshiva University. Dr. Alyssa Schuck described the event saying, “Our students rose to the challenge; infused with enthusiasm and friendly competitiveness, they combined creativity and advanced biology lab skills as a way to celebrate Chanukah!”

Students were excited to participate in this fun-filled Chanukah themed event. As Shayna Dessau (SCW ’23) said, “ I really loved using my genetics skills and art skills towards a Chanukah event. It was fun to come together as a group and do a fun competition!” 


Photo Credit: Leia Rubenstein