McPherson College opened its labs to future scientists when approximately 100 fourth graders from Washington and Lincoln elementary schools participated in a science day hosted by the college’s Pre-Health Professions (PHP) Club on February 3.
The club hosts the event every year and is something members look forward to, according to Garrett Owen, president of PHP.
“It’s our biggest event,” Owen said. “We really appreciate the schools’ participating in it. It’s our way of giving back to the community.”
Members of PHP plan and organize the entire day, according to Manjula Koralegedara, association professor of chemistry and PHP Club advisor. The day consists of experiments in chemistry, physics, biology, and biochemistry. The college students speak to the younger students about scientific methods and about what is science before they divide into small groups, Koralegedara said.
“The PHP students really do everything,” she said. “It’s a great way for them to engage with the younger students and demonstrate their understanding of what they are learning.”
The experiments provide hands-on opportunities for the fourth graders in each area of science.
“It gives our students a chance to do different types of science experiments that we can’t do or don’t have time to do in the classroom,” Rachel Villalobos, a teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, said. “Some of the experiments go along with what we are learning about in class.”
Owen, a senior from Oklahoma, is applying to medical schools and plans on becoming a doctor, maybe even a pediatrician.
“I have been involved in this for the past three years and really love working with the kids,” he said. “It’s a joy to watch them especially when something in the experiment changes colors or bubbles. Hopefully, we are giving a spark to some future scientists.”