Avenues of Scientific Discovery: A Must Attend Event For Students.
** This post has been updated to reflect the changes in the Avenues of Scientific Discovery event. When you were 17 or 18 years old did you know what you wanted to be? How many of you knew, at that time, what various career options were available to you? I know I didn’t.
When I started working at North Dakota State University, I found out there are people who make paint… for a living.
I thought paint just showed up on the shelves of the stores. (How many of us stop to think about where things come from?) I was not aware that studying and creating paint was a career option for me. Why hadn’t anyone told me that? I would definitely have enrolled in that program.
Continuing reading to learn how Avenues of Scientific Discovery is providing area junior-high and high-school students with their own “aha” moment, before they head off to college.
The NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning offers an event called Avenues of Scientific Discovery. My first thought, when our office started working with this program, was, “I wish they had a program like this when I was in high school!” It really is such a great event for junior-high and high-school students. Let me tell you a bit more about it.
"I wish they had a program like this when I was in high school!”
Avenues of Scientific Discovery began as an idea a group of graduate students had. They too, wished they had known more about the scientific degree programs available to them. And, out of that frustration, this event was born. Since that time the event has evolved to include our former Expanding Your Horizons event. The two events have been combined into one really big conference and the Avenues of Scientific Discovery name was retained.
Avenues of Scientific Discovery is a one-day event held for students in grades 7-9 and 10-12. The event is held on the first Saturday in April so that students from neighboring states have an opportunity to attend. At the event, students choose a selection of workshops to attend. These workshops are short, fun, learning activities that are either 45- or 90-minutes. Each workshop introduces them to a different field of study and connects them with graduate students and NDSU instructors who can further assist them with exploring their interest in the field.
A few of the activities offered in previous year’s events include:
- Infectious disease outbreak investigation. Here students learn how public health outbreaks are traced back to it’s source. This activity is especially relevant after the COVID-19 pandemic. This activity showcased the public health field.
- Careers in pharmacy. Here students participated in a blood pressure demonstration as well as prepared a sample non-sterile prescription. This activity showcased the pharmacy field.
- Exploring the concepts of topography in augmented reality. Using a sand table students created their own topographies, used digital rain, and tracked rainfall run-off. This activity showcased the field of geosciences.
- Traffic signal fun. Students learned how traffic signal systems work and how they change during an emergency vehicle situation. This activity highlights civil engineering as a field of study.
The event can accommodate up to 300 students. In past years all student registration fees and meals were paid for by our generous sponsors. If your business or organization is interested in sponsoring a group of students, contact our office with your pledge amount.
This is a great opportunity to open up new fields of study for your students who may not otherwise know about them. One of my favorite sayings is, “people don’t know what they don’t know.” I think that statement is a good reflection of why events like Avenues of Scientific Discovery are so important. It is our job to help all students have plenty of interactions with the various STEM fields of study so each student can make the best possible choice for their future career.
"People don’t know what they don’t know.”
Thinking back to my high-school years, I would definitely have been a reluctant participant at an event of this sort. However, having seen the event first-hand, I can confidently say that I would not be writing this article today. I would most definitely have been in a different career and quite possibly in one of the fields of study on display at this event.
Maybe you would be buying your favorite paint from the Jadrny Paint Company. (That has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?)
I owe it to my high-school self to urge you to get your high-school students registered for this event… even the reluctant ones.
About the Author
Connie Jadrny, is a senior marketing coordinator for the NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning.
In more than 17 years at NDSU, Jadrny has learned a lot about the professional development needs of K-12 teachers.
In this series of posts, she intends to pass along bits of wisdom from the professional development industry.
Let’s learn together!