High school and middle school students participate in “Beyond Crude Oil” workshop

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Outcome:

Sixty-four high school and middle school students increased their interest and understanding of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degree and a STEM career after attending a workshop hosted by SD EPSCoR at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, S.D., March 10, 2015.

Impact/Benefits:

Increasing interest in high school and middle school students toward pursuing a STEM degree in the state’s colleges and universities will help meet an increasing demand for a STEM workforce in South Dakota and the region.

Description:

The workshop, titled “Beyond Crude Oil: Bio-based Chemicals and Fuels Workshop,” engaged high school and middle school students in a variety of presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on activities related to the production of high value chemicals and fuel products from bio-based, renewable resources. The workshop was a collaborative event between faculty and students from SDSU and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, S.D.

The workshop focused on answering questions about key issues today’s scientists are working on, including:

  • Why do we need to replace petroleum?
  • What chemicals do we need and why?
  • How do we use polymers?

Students who attended the workshop reported an increased interest in a STEM major as they prepare for college, as well as an increased interest in pursuing a STEM career.

The workshop was supported by the National Science Foundation/SD EPSCoR Award No. 1330842.


Middle school students participate in science and research activities at the Beyond Crude Oil event at Avera Hall at the South Dakota State University Campus Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

Middle school students participate in science and research activities at the Beyond Crude Oil event at Avera Hall at the South Dakota State University Campus Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

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