MAY 20, 2009

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OSU-CHS Mentors Help Third-Graders Explore Science

Biomedical sciences graduate students, OSU-CHS professors and staff recently shared their knowledge to help Eugene Field Elementary School third-grade students learn more about science.

OSU biomedical sciences graduate student LeighAnn Riemer, chair of the OSU Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Association’s science fair at the elementary school, says the association and OSU-CHS mentors provided expertise to help the young learners set up experiments, make a science fair board and learn how to present their work to judges.

OSU professors, physicians, staff, and students helped 51 third-graders prepare and conduct science experiments. “We wanted to make science a rewarding and competitive experience, much like sports are for most children. We also wanted them to understand the scientific process and be able to apply it to everyday questions they may have about the world they live in,” Riemer says.

After readying experiments, the third-graders prepared summaries and science fair boards, and then learned how to present their experiments to judges. Professors from OSU-CHS judged entries in late April. Alexander J. Rouch, Ph.D., an OSU-CHS associate professor of Physiology and director of the biomedical sciences graduate program, says the student association is making a positive impact.

“Each mentor worked hard to prepare the best possible experience for these young students. LeighAnn Riemer and all the participants deserve high praise and a round of applause from OSU-CHS,” Rouch says. Rouch and Kathleen Curtis, Ph.D., are BSGSA advisors.

The project may owe its existence to Riemer’s own childhood exposure to science fairs. “After the formation of the
association, we were trying to figure out ways to get involved with the community. I remembered how much I loved the science fair when I was in elementary school in Oklahoma City, and I found out that Eugene Field did not have one. Through my previous volunteer experiences at Eugene Field, I knew who to contact to ask about the possibility of starting an annual science fair at the school,” Riemer says.

Graduate students Neda Saffarian-Toussi and Rashmi Singh were co-chairs for the fair committee and helped plan the event. Other participants include Rashmi Kaul, Ph.D., Brian Diener, D.O., Karen Muse, Daniel Buck, Latrisha Rice, Keyaria Grey, Kerri Elliot, Sara Toofan, Shamier Moore, Sarah Kauble, Steven Gearhardt, Rachael Pattison, Desra Kiely, Brittany Bolt, Michael McClain, Emily Kollmann, Jewels Duffey, and Danielle Armstrong.