By Meredith Schellin
Asbury University hosted 250 elementary and middle school students from Ky. and In. at its annual interactive Kid’s College, hosted by the science honor society, Sigma Zeta (Theta Chapter) in Hamman-Ray.
The curriculum for this event is chosen by the Sigma Zeta cabinet, and the lessons are conducted by the student volunteers.
During Kid’s College the students are split up by age and grade and led to different stations devoted to various scientific disciplines.
Sophomore Meredith Anderson, who led the chemistry station, said, “I loved getting to interact with the kids, and hearing them ‘ooh’ and ‘ahhh’ when I did some of the chemistry experiments.”
According to Brittany U’Wren, the president of Sigma Zeta, the goal of Kid’s College is to expose children, in a hands-on environment, to biology, chemistry and physics in a college lab setting, thereby sparking a life-long passion for science.
Senior Samantha Penwell, one of more than 50 volunteers for the event, has been participating in Kid’s College for four years. “I think that Kid’s College was incredibly successful this year,” Penwell said. “Spending three hours hands-on with the kids made all of the prep work and all of the behind-the-scenes stress totally worth it,” she added. “Even though I still have burets to wash and labs to clean again, all of that doesn’t matter. Those kids had a blast, and I hope that this is something that they remember for a long time coming.”
Not only did students majoring in different areas of science volunteer, but a variety of students majoring in disciplines ranging from creative writing to business management offered their services.
Jared Houp, a freshman majoring in business management, volunteered during the afternoon segment. “My favorite part was just seeing the kids smile, and hearing the laughter coming through the doors of the classrooms was a blessing,” said Houp. “I don’t know anyone that said they didn’t have fun. When asking if they learned anything new they would always spurt out something scientific that they had learned in class throughout the day.”
Each class was an hour long; however, these times were tailored to suit a child’s interest rather than function as a collegiate classroom. For example, in the physics classroom, experiments were conducted involving eggs, balloons and fire.
Throughout the day many of the volunteers were able to watch the younger students develop a knowledge of science and math they were unaware they possessed. “I would have to say getting to see the kids figure out experiments themselves is the most rewarding part,” said U’Wren.
Many of the volunteers echoed sophomore biology major Katelyn Compston’s view of the importance for events like Kid’s College. Compston said, “Events like Kid’s College not only help kids get excited about science; [they] also help to show what you can do with science.”