College of Education’s STEM Career Investigation Program

High school students learning from University professors how the STEM disciplines are integrated into science and engineering research

3/12/2014 - By: Nicole Shearer
AACT student Alissa Lavelle speaks with University mining engineering student Jay Dewald about the different equipment used in extracting and processing minerals from the environment.

A STEM Career Investigation Program, hosted this semester by the University of Nevada, Reno's Raggio Research Center, is offering Washoe County School District sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to observe current scientific and engineering research being conducted at the University and affiliated institutions.

"The idea behind this program is to offer exposure for students to realize careers in many specialized areas of science and engineering," Jacque Ewing-Taylor, associate director, Raggio Research Center for STEM Education and institutional grants coordinator, said.

SCIP includes a series of six seminars through March at the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education, part of the University's College of Education and located in the William J. Raggio Building. An average of 32 students from 10 area high schools from throughout Washoe County attend each program. The program's speakers include Richard Kelley, research assistant professor in computer science and engineering; Jennifer Hollander, assistant professor of biology; Scott Mensing, professor of geography; Danny Taylor, associate professor of mining engineering; Michael Leverington, computer science and engineering lecturer and Christian Fritsen, vice president of academic affairs at Desert Research Institute.  

"This program has been really helpful in teaching me about career possibilities I didn't know about," Madisyn Horning, a sophomore at The Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology, said. "It's also helped me better understand college and the steps I can take to attain degrees in higher education. I've learned a lot and I'm really glad to be part of this program."  

In its first year, SCIP is funded through the Workforce Development and Education component of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Nexus grant, which aims to strengthen human infrastructure and workforce development.

"It was a blast getting the opportunity to share my work and my experiences with high school students," faculty researcher Richard Kelley, said. "I started my lecture by asking how many of the students knew anything about computer science, and was a bit surprised that several of them hadn't heard about the subject before. As I went through my talk it stood out to me that even the students who weren't familiar with what we do were very sharp - we ended up having a great conversation about computer science, robotics, and the data science work that we're doing at the Nevada Research Data Center. The students were very dynamic and helped make the lecture fun for everyone involved."  

The purpose of the Raggio Research Center is to promote a better understanding of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines by providing quality outreach and research programs. For more about the Raggio Research Center, visit www.unr.edu/raggio-center


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