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.
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.
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.