Nov. 13, 2021

The Wartburg STEM Visit Day includes workshops designed to give science- and math-oriented high school seniors an opportunity to pursue, in depth, specific areas in contemporary science, engineering, and psychology. Each workshop, led by Wartburg College faculty or a team of clinical laboratory scientists from ASCLS-IA, consists of six to 12 students and the instructor. The structure is informal and encourages close interpersonal contacts. Student participants are encouraged to share their experiences and newly-gained knowledge with their high school teachers and other students, and should feel free to interact further with professors and other symposium student participants. All participants will earn a $1,000 award per year if they enroll at Wartburg. Some high school seniors may qualify to participate in a Knights Scholarship Day, one of which is being held the day after the symposium.

Biology – DETECTION OF THE COVID VIRUS THROUGH MOLECULAR METHODS (Dr. Sean Coleman and Dr. Stephanie Toering Peters): Students will complete an RT-PCR experiment and ELISA experiment that demonstrate the two most common methods to detect the COVID virus in humans. Students in this workshop will need to return to the workshop for about 30 minutes after lunch to view their results. **These experiments will be done with prepared samples that do not contain any potentially infectious agent.**

Chemistry – EXPLORING NANOTECHNOLOGY WITH CHEMISTRY (Dr. Christine DeVries): From advances in medicine and computer chips to paint and cosmetics, we hear that popular buzzword nanotechnology, but what does it really mean? What makes tiny materials so special? Will nanotechnology poison the environment, or provide inexpensive ways to remove toxins from our drinking water? Participants will explore these questions and more by synthesizing nanoparticles and examining their interesting properties.

Chemistry – CHROMATOGRAPHIC SEPARATION OF A MIXTURE (Dr. Leilani Zart): Column chromatography is a routine method typically used to isolate and purify products from organic reactions. Participants in this workshop will practice the art of chromatographic separation on a mixture of 9-fluorenone and an unknown compound and in the process learn about the theory behind chromatography.

Clinical Lab – DIAGNOSIS (Theresa R. Fruehling, MA, MLS, ASCPCM): What determines the difference between: heart attack vs. a gallbladder problem? Over-committed/over-worked vs. thyroid problems? Bacterial vs. viral infection? Appendicitis vs. gas? Leukemia vs. anemia? And benign vs. malignant (non-cancerous vs. cancerous)? Who finds the answers to these questions, and how do they find the answers? Join us on a quest to discover the answers and reveal a hidden world within the health care profession.

Computer Science – MACHINE LEARNING (Dr. John Zelle and Dr. Terry Letsche): Machine learning is an exciting subfield of artificial intelligence that has touched nearly every facet of modern society with applications in social media, business, engineering, entertainment, finance, politics, law enforcement, science, medicine, and more. In this workshop, students will learn about these revolutionary technologies through a hands-on experience applying machine learning to real world problems.

Engineering – HOW ENGINEERS HELP THE WORLD (Dr. LeAnn Faidley): Engineers put knowledge of math and science to use in the creation of products and processes that solve the world’s problems. In this workshop, students will learn about a variety of engineering disciplines as they work with a team to design devices to perform specific tasks.

Environmental Science – MAKING IOWA WILD AGAIN: SC 145 (Dr. David McCullough and Dr. Michaeleen Golay) Many people think of corn fields when they think of Iowa. But there are many natural areas that are important for conservation of our natural resources. In this workshop you will go out in the field and learn how ecologists assess natural areas for habitat value. You will then help develop a plan to manage the site for wildlife and water quality. Dress for being outdoors (warm layers, shoes you can get dirty, raincoat if needed).

Exercise Science – AN INTRODUCTION TO EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY (Dr. Patricia Dietz Parsons and Rachel Chapman): Participants will learn about the various ways that human performance can be measured. The workshop will include active learning and hands-on equipment usage.

Mathematics – COMPLEX NUMBERS (Dr. Brian  Birgen): Everyone knows you can’t take the square root of a negative number. Except, what happens if you can? Find out.

Math and Science Education – SCIENCE OF THE EGG: (Dr. Michael Bechtel) Iowa is known for two interwoven industries that support the nation and the world: agriculture and food. Students will study facets of the poultry industry from egg through hatching to processing. They will work with eggs, newly hatched chicks, and adult poultry (Gallus gallus domesticus). This workshop will provide an overview of interconnected themes dealing with genetics, chemistry, physics, zoology, public health, and economics.

Neuroscience – BRAINS AND BEHAVIOR: AN INTRODUCTION TO NEUROSCIENCE: SC 143 (Dr. Eric Emmons) The field of neuroscience asks questions at multiple levels with a wide range of techniques. In this workshop students will examine anatomy at the systems level (dissecting a sheep brain) and explore the functions of the nervous system through physiological measures in humans and behavioral measures in mice.