Science Day speakers discuss careers

By Hailey Siller

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This year marked the first Science Day held at Whitman Oct. 23.  The event featured 30 to 40 speakers from varying scientific fields who discussed their careers with students. 

Dr. Goodman discussed his career in the healthcare technology field to physics students. Photo by Sarah Klotz.

Dr. Goodman discussed his career in the healthcare technology field to physics students. Photo by Sarah Klotz.

“This is the first time we’ve tried something this big,” science department head Don DeMember says.

 While the department specifically invited students to attend in their respective science classes, all students were allowed to participate.

From parents and former students to businesses and government agency representatives, there was a diverse range of speakers who are in the field of science, engineering and math, according to DeMember.

“I [thought] this [was] a great opportunity to learn about different careers, new technologies that might be out there and to make connections in the community,” science teacher Sherri Gingrich says.

Gingrich points out that these speakers were instructed to talk about anything and everything from earth science to physics.

“It’s really funny to see the speakers get so excited about science,” sophomore Maryam Abutalab says. “It makes it a lot more interesting when they’re so excited.”

The science department promoted this event by sending a letter home explaining Science Day with students, publishing the need for speakers on Back to School Night, posting a letter on Edline and sending an email to parents in order to encourage parent participation. Teachers also talked about the event in most science classes, DeMember says.

“We [tried] to find people who are going to give good talks that [weren’t] over everyone’s head,” Gingrich says.

 The Year of Science 2009, sponsored by COPUS, the Coalition of Public Understanding of Science, is a national celebration of science that improves public understanding about how science works, why it matters and who scientists are, according to their website.

DeMember and AP environmental science teacher Kelly Garton, prompted by the Year of Science, brought the celebration to Whitman to highlight science as a career option.

“I thought it was something new and a good experience,” junior Lucia Canton says. “For example, I had no idea what mole day was until today.

However, not only the science department and its students were excited about this opportunity.

“A few other teachers like from the English department hoped we could make it more interdisciplinary,” Garton says.

Garton also believes students wanted to know what it’s really like to be in a lab as opposed to learning in a school classroom. 

“[We hope students got to] see that careers in science are good careers that people enjoy,”  DeMember says.

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