Chem Club organizing 'cool day' for high-schoolers

What originally started as an idea to create a Women in STEM program on campus has grown to a larger, all-encompassing day to raise awareness among high school students about the various fields of science.

With a lot of collaboration from across campus, Heidelberg’s American Chemical Society Chemistry Club is hosting its first High School Science Day on Saturday, February 29. Chem Club organizers are inviting National Honor Societies in local/area schools to participate in the day’s activities.

Chem Club VP Caleb Frye, a senior biochemistry major, explained that the overarching goal of Science Day is to expose high school students to different aspects of science. “We want to “try to get high school students interested in science and STEM, learn more about it and see science in the real world.”

The club secured a grant from the ACS that will help them pay for lunch, T-shirts and Heidelberg swag for those who attend Science Day.

Participants will choose sessions throughout the day on various topics that span the science spectrum – such as extracting DNA, using instruments for the detection of performance-enhancing drugs, sustainability, drone use in environmental science, women in STEM and causes of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. Tours of the Cadaver Lab are sure to be a highlight.

What’s cool about Science Day is that faculty and students will be the session presenters. Additionally, ‘Berg science students will present on their current research, including Caleb, who’s working on developing a new antibiotic.

“We’re really fortunate to be able to do our own research here,” Caleb said. Science Day “will expose students to everything from genetics to environmental science to microbiology and chemistry.”

During the day, there will be opportunities for the high-schoolers to speak with ‘Berg students about college life and meet with the Office of Admission. At lunch, science faculty will be on hand to interact with the participants as well.

Chem Club members have spearheaded the organization of the day, with officers including Caleb, President Katie Iwanek and advisor Dr. Nate Beres taking the lead. Two student organizations – SCRUBS, the medical preprofessional club, and the Alliance for Sustainability – also will be assisting.

"It's going to be a cool day for the high school students to see what they might want to study,” Caleb said. “We want them to leave informed. We want them to know about all of science, that it’s fun, that research is really cool.”

Ultimately, the Chem Club hopes the students learn about the different career paths on which science can lead them.

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