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.

The following are descriptions from the 2019 symposium. The 2021 descriptions will be added soon.

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.

Clinical Lab – DIAGNOSIS: SC 126 (Theresa R. Fruehling, MA, MLS, ASCPCMDiagnosis: 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 – ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (Dr. John Zelle and Dr. Terry Letsche): Data-driven approaches to artificial intelligence have touched nearly every facet of modern society from social media to engineering, entertainment, finance, politics, and medicine. In this workshop, students will learn about these revolutionary technologies through hands-on experience applying machine learning and neural networks to solve real world problems.

Engineering – HOW ENGINEERS HELP THE WORLD: SC 243, 245 (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).

Participants will learn about the various ways that human performance can be measured. The workshop will include active learning and hands-on equipment usage.

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.

Mathematics – MATHEMATICAL MODELING AND MUSING: SC 247, 249 (Dr. Mariah Birgen) Mathematical Musing is all about the cool things in math that you never get to see in school. Depending on interests, we may figure out that there are different sizes of infinity, or that there are mathematical worlds where A*B does not equal B*A. Mathematical Modeling is about using everything you know about math to figure out how the world works. Depending on interests, we may figure out how drugs break down in the human body, how diseases spread in populations, or how much improvement a rocket can gain by adding another engine stage. This workshop will use computers to numerically solve things that not even your calculus teacher can solve by hand.

Neuroscience – BRAINS AND BEHAVIOR: AN INTRODUCTION TO NEUROSCIENCE: SC 143 (Dr. Samantha Larimer Bousquet) The field of neuroscience asks questions at multiple levels. In this workshop students will examine brain anatomy both at the systems level (dissecting a sheep brain) and at a tissue/cellular level (staining and mounting rodent brain slices). Functions of the nervous system will be investigated using sensory demonstrations and physiological measurements in humans and behavioral experiments with mice.

Physics – PARTICLE COLLISIONS (Dr. Ben Bousquet and Dr. Charles Figura) Particle colliders such as the Large Hadron Collider in Europe use some very basic physics in a very complicated way to learn about the structure of the atom, its constituent particles, and the fundamental building blocks of the universe.  In this workshop, we will use some macroscopic collisions to investigate the physics principles behind this probe of the subatomic world.

Psychology explores the connection between human behavior and mental processes. Activities and discussions will show students how to stretch their own capacity for learning and how to avoid flaws in memory. Through interactive demonstrations, students will also learn about the thought processes that occur when forming impressions of others and when thinking about themselves.

Public Health – THE POISONED PICNIC: AN EPIDEMIOLOGIC INVESTIGATION OF A MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS (Dr. Lori Sheeler) Everyone had an outstanding time at the Citywide Spring picnic…until later that evening. People began to get sick and were seeking treatment at the local hospital. City officials were alarmed by the rapid onset of this mysterious illness that seem to be associated with the picnic; they promised a full investigation and have selected you to be part of a team of epidemiologists to determine the source of this outbreak. Students will apply their newly acquired knowledge of epidemiology, infectious diseases, and food safety to identify the agent responsible for this mysterious illness. Work quickly… Time is of the essence.