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Monday, September 24, 2012 - 11:54am

Getting Students Interested In Science

Georgia Southern University is joining seven coastal research institutes to educate high school students. They will come from six school districts to learn about environmental concerns in Georgia’s coastal region.

The project is getting about 700 thousand dollars from a Race To The Top grant.

Robert Mayes with Georgia Southern’s Institute on science, technology, engineering and math, says they are developing a program where high school students and their teachers can talk to scientists about their research projects on things like drought. He says the students would get ideas for projects in their communities.

“They would look at maybe the water table in their area, or rainfall in their area. How that’s impacted the crops that are planted in their area. So that they see how it plays out in their place.” he says.

Mayes says the goal is to expose students to research on environmental concerns along the coast.

He says “To develop let’s say science-literate citizens who can make informed decisions about grand challenges that are really coming for them as the next generation.”

Bill Miller with the UGA Marine Institute at Sapelo Island, says their facility will allow students to enter a pristine coastal estuary to learn about salt marshes.

“Anyone who goes on that island and takes the time to actually look at take part in some of the research that is going on, you can’t help but be changed by the experience.” he says.

James Sanders with the Skidaway Institute says this has benefits for the researchers as well.

He says “Academic scientists tend to like figuring out how things work and what’s out there. But if it doesn’t get used, it really just remains academic and not of much value to society in general.”

A pilot program will begin this spring, with a year-long class to start in the fall of 2013.

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