Wittenberg Saturday Science is an outreach program started last year that exposes area high school and home school students to science and its many possibilities. Eight academic departments – biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are collaborating on the program, which is scheduled to run once a month during the school year.
Each program features a public presentation by a Wittenberg faculty member on an accessible science topic, likely something outside the typical high school curriculum. After a continental breakfast in the David L. Hobson Atrium, students then take part in a hands-on science experience led by current Wittenberg students and their professors.
"We are very happy with how the program started. Last semester brought more than 60 students to Wittenberg from 15 different area schools," said Adam Parker, assistant professor of mathematics. "Feedback from both parents and students has been positive. We look forward to continuing to reach out to area students and show them the beauty and usefulness of science."
Bogaerts' presentation, which discusses utilization of the Python programming language to write programs that generate creative pictures and patterns, will be followed by a science experience sure to be new to most, if not all, of the high school-aged students in attendance.
"This Saturday Science program offers a great opportunity for students to learn some basic programming concepts while working with graphics," Bogaerts said. "I think students will really enjoy seeing how easy getting started in programming can be and how so many interesting puzzles can arise."
Wittenberg Saturday Science is funded by a grant from Future Jobs, a regional workforce development program. Wittenberg is a partner with Future Jobs, and University President Mark H. Erickson is a member of its board of directors.
The 2009-10 Wittenberg Saturday Science program continues in November with a presentation by Assistant Professor of Geography and Director of Environmental Studies Andy Scholl. The exact date will be announced soon. Presentations were made during the spring 2009 semester by Parker, Associate Professor of Psychology Michael Anes, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ray Dudek and Assistant Professor of Biology Michelle McWhorter. The first presentation of the 2009-10 school year was made on Sept. 12 by Professor of Geology and Chair of the Department John Ritter.
There is no cost to participate in Wittenberg Saturday Science, and the public is welcome to attend the lecture portion. However, space is limited for the hands-on experience. To register for the event, go to http://www.wittenberg.edu/science-outreach. For more information, e-mails can be sent to email@example.com.
Written by: Ryan Maurer
Photo by: Erin Pence
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