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Science and technology workshops for talented youth set Oct. 26

10:40 a.m., Oct. 24, 2003--From 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 26, lecture halls and labs all over campus will welcome a younger crowd of scholars as the University hosts its first Science and Technology Series for seventh- and eighth-graders. Working in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth program, the University of Delaware will offer 11 different science-themed workshops in the daylong program that caters to high-achieving 13- and 14- year-olds.

According to Faye Duffy, senior associate director of admissions, the program will draw more than 160 seventh- and eighth-graders and 150 parents from throughout the mid-Atlantic region (some from as far south as South Carolina and from as far north as New York) and will encourage young scholars to pursue their passion for science and technology. Workshops with names such as “Lizard Breath” and “It’s a Microbial World!” will give bright students with middle-school mindsets the opportunity to key in to upper-level classes taught by UD professors. The program also will give young achievers and their parents a chance to learn about the University of Delaware.

While students are in workshops, parents will get their own chance to learn and explore as they take tours, meet professors and gain insight into UD academics and local history.

The day begins at 8 a.m. in the Gore Hall Rotunda with registration and a continental breakfast. At 9 a.m., visiting students and parents will then move on to Mitchell Hall for a welcome from UD President David P. Roselle followed by a keynote address at 9:15 a.m. by Rita Colwell, director of the National Science Foundation.

Colwell also will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from UD for her trailblazing efforts in both science and education. The honorary degree is the highest honor the University bestows and is presented to individuals whose work warrants exceptional recognition.

At 10 a.m., students and parents will break into groups for pre-assigned morning workshops at different locations throughout campus. (Blue Hen ambassadors will be on hand to ensure that everyone gets on the proper bus.) The workshops run from 10:15-11:45 a.m. and are followed by a lunchbreak from noon-1 p.m.

At 1 p.m., students and parents depart for afternoon workshops, which run from 1:15-2:45 p.m. At 3 p.m., all visitors will reconvene in Mitchell Hall for closing remarks by bioethicist Mark Greene. Greene is a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Bioethics Institute and also a professor in UD’s philosophy department and Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

The following are brief descriptions of the student workshops and parent programs.

Student workshops
Of the 11 workshops offered, students will attend two—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. All workshops are taught by UD faculty.

• “Where the Computing and Life Sciences Meet,” taught by Keith Decker, professor of computer and information sciences, and Jeffrey Ning, bioinformatics specialist at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, presents an overview of computer use in the life sciences.

• “Isolation of DNA from Bacteria,” taught by Robin Morgan, dean of agriculture and natural resources, Grace Isaacs, research associate in animal and food sciences, and Lesa Griffiths, director of international studies and professor of animal and food sciences, teaches students how to isolate DNA from bacterial cells through a hands-on activity.

• “What Color Is Egg White? Biochemistry that Students Can See,” taught by Harold B. White, professor of biochemistry, and George Watson, professor of physics and associate dean of arts and science, is an interactive demonstration that incorporates real-world problem-solving skills as students divide into groups to find solutions.
• “Insights into Drug Design through Structural and Computational Biology,” taught by Brian Bahnson, Yong Duan and John Koh, professors of chemistry and biochemistry, introduces students to molecular forces and protein sequences.

• “Lizard Breath,” taught by David Usher, professor of biological sciences and associate chair of immunogenetics, teaches students how to use microscopes to explore respiration.

• “Snip, Separate and See,” taught by Shailaja Rabindran, senior scientist at the Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biology, allows to students to work with gels to learn about enzyme restriction.

• “It’s a Microbial World!”, taught by Thomas Hanson, professor of marine studies, and Eric Wommack, professor of plant and soil sciences, uses interactive demonstrations to teach students about anaerobic culturing.

• “How Do We Change Drinking Water from Bad to Good?” taught by Pei Chiu and Paul Imhoff, professors of civil and environmental engineering, introduces students to the concepts and processes of water treatment.

• “What about Acid Rain?” taught by Dominic Di Toro, Distinguished Professor Of Civil And Environmental Engineering, and Douglas J. Doren, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, lets students work with chemistry modeling software to make calculations and draw conclusions about acid rain chemicals.

• “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in Biology: From Deciphering Molecular Structures to Designing New Medicines,” taught by Tatyana Polenova, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Steve Bai, manager of UD’s nuclear magnetic resonance facilities, gives students a chance to execute two experiments—one involving an analysis of ibuprofen and the other involving a two-dimensional spectroscopy of a protein.

• “DNA Fingerprinting—Who Done It?” taught by Mary Ann McLane and Mary Beth Miele, professors of medical technology, gives students a hands-on introduction to forensic investigation.

Parent programs
The four parents’ options include a general campus tour originating from Gore Hall; an in-depth tour of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (limited to 30 people); a campus ghost tour led by local historian and Delaware lore expert Ed Okonowicz; and a seminar entitled “Preparing High-Ability Students for the College Search.”

For more information, call Duffy at 831-6782.

Article by Becca Hutchinson

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