By Amanda Wright
Approximately sixty high school students visited Roanoke College last Sunday to discover RC’s Math and Science majors. Prospective students had the option of exploring Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Math, Physics, and Health and Human Performance departments.
During the event, RC research assistants spoke with parents and students about projects they worked on last summer. These projects spanned from “Blob Detection” in Computer Science to “Self-Healing Polymers” in Chemistry. The majority of students who attended found a project that appealed to them. In fact, many of the high school students asked researchers how they became involved in their projects. This highlighted the involvement of faculty in top-notch research. Many of the projects have multidisciplinary aspects that cross scientific boundaries, such as physics and biology, for the project “Evaluating Natural Tracers”.
Research at Roanoke does not only happen on campus, but students also get the opportunity to do research at other local colleges. Some students spent their summer at research institutions such as Virginia Tech or Coastal Carolina University.
High school students who were interested in a specific major were introduced to the faculty in each department where they were able to ask questions about what to expect from their learning experience at Roanoke College. Current students and alumni answered questions about the faculty, classes, and learning experiences around Roanoke. The panels also discussed what the Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum (INQ) class topics covered and the typical workload for freshman year.
Roanoke College students also described ways to become involved on campus, types of resources that are available, and how they engaged in Experiential Learning programs.
Dr. Christopher Lassiter, associate professor of Biology, and Dr. Leonard Pysh, chairperson of Biology, introduced the high schoolers to the rich world of the Roanoke College science and math academic life during the Math and Science Exploration Day which created a connection for prospective students to the campus to, hopefully, reaffirm their decision to attend Roanoke College.
The ongoing program is sponsored by Roanoke College Admissions and has expanded to include current students in discussion panels and presentations of research projects.