April 09, 2010

Event showcases local students’ science research

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- An event next week will showcase research projects created through a Southern Illinois University Carbondale program that pairs graduate students with local middle and high school students and their teachers.

The first Heart GK-12 Student Research Symposium is Tuesday, April 13, in Ballroom B of the Student Center. The event includes research presentations by students from area high schools and middle schools who worked with SIUC graduate students on research projects during the last school year. The event is free and open to the public.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the Heart GK-12 Student Research Symposium. Contact Liz Evanoff in the SIUC graduate school, at 618/453-7370.

The event is the product of the Heartland Ecological/Environmental Academic Research Training GK-12 program at SIUC. The National Science Foundation has funded the fellowship program, which primarily targets underrepresented minorities in science.

Under the program, SIUC graduate students, under the direction of faculty advisers, work with area teachers and students to explore a wide and rich array of scientific experiences in ecological habitats. The program bridges the gap between the University and local schools by involving graduate students directly in ecological and environmental science curricula, as well as by mentoring high school teachers in the scientific research process, organizers said.

The program’s goals include increasing scientific literacy, improving teachers by providing them the opportunity for scientific research, and enhancing the long-term partnership between SIUC and area schools. The program is affiliated with the SIUC Center for Ecology and utilizes natural environments such as the SIUC Touch of Nature Environmental Center for research.

More than 100 students from area schools are scheduled to take part in the event. Students from Unity Point Middle School, Carterville High School, Creal Springs Middle School, Johnston City High School, Red Bud High School and Herrin High School will be on hand to present their research, organizers said.

To qualify for the event, students must have completed a scientific project, created a poster that illustrates the project and written an abstract that explains the project.

Students will present their research in the morning, from 9:30 to 11. Judges will evaluate the projects on criteria including presentation, abstract quality, introduction, scientific procedures, results and conclusions, among others.

During the afternoon, students will take tours of various SIUC science facilities, including greenhouses, geology laboratories, the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory and forestry department, engineering and electronic systems technologies and microscopy demonstrations.

A schedule for the event follows:

8:30-9:30 a.m. -- Registration and set-up

9:20 a.m. -- Welcome by Karen Renzaglia, associate professor of plant biology

9:30 a.m. Presentation and judging

11 a.m. -- Lunch at Student Center

Noon to 1:45 p.m. -- Student tours

2-3 p.m. -- Awards ceremony and closing remarks.