Middle school students get hands-on science experience at Breakfast of Science Champions

Students and faculty in a lab

Middle school students get hands-on science experience at Breakfast of Science Champions

By Ben Lewis, Director of Communications and Special Projects

Ohio State welcomed several hundred middle school students from nine Columbus City Schools on Nov. 6 for the Breakfast of Science Champions. The students took part in hands-on science activities that engaged them in a day of fun, interactive learning. Nine sites around campus served as hosts to the students, who visited laboratories and facilities, met faculty, staff and Ohio State students, and participated in scientific investigations.

The participating Ohio State faculty, students and staff were excited to provide the middle school students with an opportunity to see what it's like to be a scientist at Ohio State.

"We give them a glimpse of what a scientific career might be like. If a young person has never met a scientist, how could they decide they want to be one?" said John Beacom, College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics and of Astronomy, Henry L. Cox Professor of Physics and of Astronomy, and director of the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics.

Courtney Price, education and outreach specialist for the Center for Applied Plant Sciences, said many students had never had the chance to visit Ohio State prior to the event.

"By organizing a large-scale event such as the Breakfast of Science Champions program with Columbus City Schools, Ohio State is giving these students a behind the scenes look at STEM research at a world-class university," she said. "And, perhaps more importantly, programs like this personalize science by introducing students to the people behind the work. Hopefully through meeting the graduate students, faculty and staff working in STEM at Ohio State and seeing our facilities first-hand, these students will see scientists as everyday people, and recognize Ohio State and the field of science in general as a place where they are welcome."

Beyond potential scientific careers and visiting campus, the event is an opportunity for the university to be proactive in providing scientific experiences to the students.

"Science is about finding universal truths through research," Beacom said. "Ensuring universal access needs outreach."

Day two of the 2019 Breakfast of Science Champions will take place on Nov. 14.

Host sites for Nov. 6 included:

  • Arabidopsis Biological Research Center and Center for Applied Plant Sciences
  • Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics/Center for Emergent Materials/Departments of Astronomy and Physics
  • Experimental Economics Laboratory and Department of Economics
  • Department of Linguistics
  • Museum of Biological Diversity
  • Department of Neuroscience
  • College of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion

Read coverage of the Breakfast of Science Champions from The Lantern.