Workshops planned for high schools students
Murphy and Mader also received a $1,000 grant from the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation to expand Seeding Your Future by putting on a yearlong science program for both male and female high school students. They will invite 20 school students per month to participate in a hands-on STEM workshop conducted by Shepherd faculty or Shepherd student groups with faculty oversight. Mader said these workshops will be more advanced in terms of topics and lab skills.
“We hope to encourage that interest in STEM and maybe make them think about it as a college major or a career,” Mader said. “Sometimes an experience like that is what makes you decide to study a certain subject.”
Mader said the workshops will expose the students to being on a college campus and give them the opportunity to work with equipment most high schools don’t have.
“We can kind of expand their horizons, if you will, and show them some stuff,” she said. “For example, no high school is going to have something like a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer which is widely used in forensic science. We could easily do a workshop on forensics where we can solve a minicrime in two hours and get to use a $100,000 instrument that’s not going to be found in any high school in the area.”
Murphy pointed out the workshops will benefit students who are home schooled as well.
“I work fairly closely with a home school family, and the mom is always looking for opportunities to get their son access to tools, equipment, and knowledge that she just doesn’t possess,” Murphy said. “There really is nothing like our workshop series that would allow them to come here for free and gain access to what she’s so desperately wanting.”
The monthly workshop will involve Shepherd science students and clubs like the Chemistry Club, Robotics Club, Beta Beta Beta and the Student Environmental Organization.
Murphy and Mader will be able to offer both the annual conference and the monthly workshops for the next three years thanks to a $26,250 grant from WISH (Women Investing in Shepherd), a women’s giving circle created in 2014 by the Shepherd University Foundation to provide grant funding for Shepherd student-faculty projects and for community nonprofit programs in the surrounding nine-county, three-state area.
For more information about the Seeding Your Future conference and the monthly high school workshops, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.