Saginaw Valley State University faculty are leading six environmental research studies this summer, working with 10 teachers and 21 students from a dozen K-12 schools in Bay, Gladwin, Midland, Saginaw, Shiawassee and Tuscola counties.
Ten SVSU students also are participating in the studies, which will involve field studies in the Saginaw Bay and its connected river systems.
The studies are coordinated through SVSU’s Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center. The education center is the result of a partnership between SVSU and the Dow Chemical Co. Foundation aimed at increasing interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
David Karpovich, SVSU's H.H. Dow Endowed Chair in Chemistry and one of the Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center’s leaders, said the education center and its research projects benefit all participants.
“The high school students get their first big experience of STEM outside of the classroom by working on real research,” Karpovich said. “The college students also gain very beneficial experience. Most of all, I hope that all of the students are inspired by the program as they decide what careers to pursue.”
“The high school teachers benefit from the experience in many ways from their own professional development to finding ideas for their own classrooms,” he added. “Our faculty certainly enjoy the chance to share their research, but they are especially enthusiastic about the interactions with all of the participants.”
This marks the second summer of the Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center summer research experience. Adrianne Cole was a teacher at Heritage High School in Saginaw Township when she participated in 2014's research initiative.
“I was also able to explore the engineering aspect of STEM - something that had always intimidated me as a biology and chemistry teacher,” she said. “Being part of the overall research on the Saginaw Bay watershed also allowed me to bring my newfound knowledge back to my own classroom and make chemistry relevant to the area that my students live in.”
Since last year, Cole joined SVSU as the university's STEM program manager, putting her in a leadership role with the summer research projects.
Participating local schools for 2015 include:
• All Saints Central High School in Bay City
• Bangor Township Schools
• Bay City Central High School
• Beaverton High School
• Bullock Creek
• Cass City High School
• Essexville-Hampton Public Schools
• Freeland High School
• Midland Public Schools
• New Lothrop High School
• Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw Township
• Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy
• Saginaw Township Community Schools
• Reese High School
• Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw Township
The Dow Science & Sustainability Education Center at SVSU was funded by The Dow Chemical Company Foundation in December 2013 for the purpose of enhancing STEM education in the Great Lakes Bay Region at all levels. For more information, visit http://www.svsu.edu/dowsciencesustainabilityeducationcenter/