“Childhood, then, is the one time of life when all members of an age cohort are expected to appreciate science. Once junior high school begins, so too does the great winnowing, the relentless tweezing away of feather, fur, fun, the hilarity of the digestive tract, until science becomes the forbidding province of a small priesthood…” – Natalie Angier, The Canon
On Thursday afternoon, April 11, approximately 255 Guilford County students converged on the Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN). The kids, grades 3-12, had come to see what scientists do.
The “Gateway to Science” event featured an introduction to science at the nanoscale, live science demonstrations, tours of the JSNN, presentations from the Greensboro Science Center and the Girl Scouts, and a video produced just for the celebration, in which scientists from all over the world extolled the wonders of their profession. On site, JSNN faculty and students gave their time alongside volunteers from the Women’s Professional Forum to share the joy of research and to show students how they might one day become scientists too.
Gateway to Science took place as part of the North Carolina Science Festival. With ongoing events all around the state, the festival highlights the educational, cultural, and financial impact of science in our state and encourages children to pursue science-related careers and business to invest in North Carolina.
The JSNN proceedings were the brainchild of UNCG Assistant Professor of Nanoscience Marinella Sandros. Sandros is not satisfied only making an impact through her impressive research. She’s looking at the next generation. She recognizes the need to involve children in science at a young age and make science accessible. She also sees the need to help young students carry science interest with them into adulthood by exposing them to careers in the fields of science and technology. With sponsorship from The Women’s Professional Forum, the JSNN, and the Girls in Science Technology (GIST) Project, Sandros is responding to those needs in a big way.
Gateway to Science was a rousing success. Children shot excitedly from demo to demo, huge smiles on their faces. As the event wound down, parents were begged for just a little more time – their kids wanted to go on a tour of the labs! Volunteers were equally charmed, with one graduate student naming the event “the best day ever at JSNN.”
To see more pictures from Gateway to Science, check out the UNCG Research facebook album.
And don’t forget to watch the Gateway to Science video! Created specially for the April 11 event, the piece features scientists from around the world discussing their work and the wonders of their profession:
The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is an academic collaboration between North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Both Universities are classified by the Carnegie Foundation as “research universities with high research activity.” JSNN builds on the strengths of the two universities in the basic sciences and in engineering to offer an innovative, cross-disciplinary graduate program that will train scientists in various emerging areas of nanoscience and nanoengineering.