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Lyon 4-H’ers get a jump on their college careers

Posted 5/11/2012

Students in classroom

UNR college hosts high school students interested in science, math pursuits

By Robert Mills

Lyon County students from Smith Valley and Yerington high schools immersed themselves in the future of science recently. The daylong visit to UNR’s College of Science was part of the Engaging Youth Serving Community Program, which promotes University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education. The 46 freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors all expressed an interest in the field of science. Some already said they plan to enter the medical and dental school.

Dean Jeff Thompson of the College of Science welcomed the visiting group with an opening inquiry.

"How many of you know what you’re going to be doing in five years?" Thompson asked, and several hands in the room shot up. "How many of you know what you’ll be doing in 10 years?"

Several students’ hands stayed up, and the dean responded with a hearty laugh.

"That’s a lot better than me," he said smiling.

One solid piece of advice from the dean: take the difficult math classes as soon as possible.

"Classes like pre-calculus, calculus and physics will prepare you for the college-level courses you’ll need in order to get into graduate and professional schools," he said.

Jessica Angle of the UNCE Lyon County 4-H Engaging Youth Serving Community program said the visit is a great opportunity for students to pique and maintain their interests in the fields of math and science.

"All of these kids have really bright futures ahead of them," Angle said. "Some of them know they want to be doctors, nurses and dentists already. This was a great opportunity for these youth to visit UNR and interact with faculty and university students from the College of Sciences. The youth really enjoyed the one-on-one discussions, and hands-on tours."

Following a conversation with the dean, students toured labs and experiment stations relevant to their interests. They had the opportunity to meet with professors and plan their next steps. Advisors stressed the students take their SAT and ACT tests seriously and frequently to assure they’re placed in the right English and math courses at the start of their college careers.

The College of Science in the Davidson Math and Science Center at the south side of UNR’s campus encompasses research fields such as atmospheric science, biology, chemistry, geography, geophysics, hydrology, mining engineering, land-use planning, physics and neuroscience.

UNCE’s 4-H STEM program encourages students to pursue study in the fields of math and science. The 4-H STEM program’s extracurricular and after-school programs — including projects relating to Department of Energy, Community Readiness Network, New Faces New Places, 4-H Robotics, and Rockets Away — has reached more than 5.9 million youth nationally.

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