Serena has dedicated her life to the advancement of science and to science education with the nation’s most promising youth. Dr. Serena McCalla was raised in New York City, and fell in love with science as an elementary school student. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Biological Sciences/African American and African studies from State University of New York, at Binghamton University with the intention of becoming an ER physician. However, she quickly realized she was more inspired by research than medicine. To satisfy her craving for deeper information, Dr. Serena McCalla earned a MS degree in Hematology/Microbiology, a PhD that explored the use of diagnostic tests to improve the understanding of genetics, photosynthesis, and respiration in secondary and collegiate courses. Read More >
Dr. McCalla began teaching science shortly after earning her BS degree and a remarkable thing happened. In the classroom, her appreciation for the sciences became more profound as the students exposed her to nuances of various scientific disciplines including material science, nanotechnology, computer science, cellular biology and physics. Dr. McCalla is currently the Science Research Coordinator for Jericho UFSD, Jericho, NY. Since assuming the position in 2008 Dr. McCalla has engineered Jericho High School’s Science Research curriculum to become one of the preeminent science research programs on Long Island. Under Dr. McCalla’s tutelage the school is lauded annually for its continued success in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and Regeneron (formally Intel) Science Talent Search (STS) competitions with 74 semifinalists and 12 finalists in the last 10 years.
Dr. McCalla recently had the unique experience of participating as a principal subject in a documentary entitled Science Fair. The immensely likeable film chronicles the importance of science fairs in the high school learning experience and highlights the trials, tribulations and successes of Jericho High School students in a variety of science competitions (the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), Siemens Competition, Junior Science and Humanities (JSHS) Competition, Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS), etc.). The documentary was selected for and premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and was honored by winning the festival’s first ever overall Festival Favorite Award. The film was subsequently purchased by National Geographic.
A natural competitor, Dr. Serena McCalla is not only a science research professional and enthusiast she also considers herself a science geek and competition supporter. She is the President of the New York State Science and Engineering Fair (NYSSEF) because she believes in the necessity of promoting student excellence and their accompanied recognitions in science. She is also the founder of iResearch Corporation, the parent company of iResearch Foundation, iResearch Institute and iResearch Science where she shares her research practices with educators and students from around the globe. The iResearch Foundation and iResearch Institute promote science research method training, review of fundamental and advanced biology and chemistry by conducting laboratory experimentation to test novel hypotheses. The iResearch Institute promotes research science learning and educational prowess of all students but focuses on underserved students. The iResearch Institute also provides a bootcamp review of the scientific method and research method practices through a growing summer research program. The scientific training of these students encourages them to a) systematically address limitations in their processing of the scientific method, b) allows for conducting of novel experimentation, and c) promotes expertise in presenting and writing journal worthy papers. A primary strength in iResearch Institute is that it parallels the environment Dr. McCalla built at Jericho UFSD. The culture of her classroom and lab brings forth copious avenues to help students excel in science, math, and engineering research. She enjoys that each day provides a new opportunity to encourage students to explore and impact the future of science and society. The pivotal goal is to have student learning and works extend past successes in their universities and ultimately manifest themselves in the global arena. Dr. McCalla believes these works will propel this generation of students to improve life on this planet as we know it.
Dr. McCalla has earned numerous awards for teaching and mentoring such as the U.S Presidential Scholar Program Teacher Recognition Award (2017 & 2010), the Distinguished Teacher Award from the Harvard Club of Long Island (2016 & 2012), the Teacher of Merit award earned annually from Regeneron/Intel Science Talent Search (2018-2010), received an honorary minor planet (named serenamccalla) from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force funded Outstanding Teacher Award in association with the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). Dr. McCalla’s students have won virtually all STEM competitions that are publicly accessible regionally, nationally and internationally. She hopes to continue to foster the brilliance and determination of future scientists. In addition, she encourages her students to follow her quote- “if you dream it, complete the work to make your dream reality.” Read Less ^