Science Alliance Day

Copyright by Casey Hayward

Science Inspiration at Piketon

Ashley Carnifax
May 13, 2011

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs was one of the exhibitors at the first ever U.S. Department of Energy’s Science Alliance Day, an outreach program designed to showcase science research to students. High school juniors from 19 schools in Southern Ohio traveled to the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio on May 3rd and 4th , 2011to take part in the event.

The Voinovich School had three exhibits for students to observe:  live fish from the Scioto River basin, a Raccoon Creek display with live macro-invertebrates, and a surface water stream table, which students could manipulate to observe the geomorphological changes in the natural process of streams.

Margaret Hutzel, one of the staff members present, said that students really enjoyed the interactive nature of the exhibits.

One of the activities that most excited students Hutzel said, was “when they could hold the fish and invertebrates in bags of water in order to see them up close. They loved passing those fish around.”

Jen Bowman, another staff member, agreed. "All the students enjoyed getting their hands wet and into the sand of the stream table while building dams, culverts, changing floodplains, installing 'vegetation' and then observing the natural processes of the stream formation as the velocity increases and decreases,” she said.

Participants in the event hoped that the students would come away with a better appreciation for applied science and to consider pursuing careers in the field of science.

“I hoped the students would leave the Science Alliance Day with increased interest in science, in general,” Hutzel said. “More specifically, I hope they have better understanding of their immediate environment. For example, how water reshapes the landscape and how fish are such good indicators of a stream's water quality.”