Thirteen juniors and seniors from Tolsia High School in Wayne County, West Virginia, visited WVU Tech May 14-15 for two days of classroom, laboratory and field demonstrations.
The students – pupils of Tolsia’s AP biology and genetics courses – participated in biology, mathematics, ecology, chemistry, computer science and robotics activities while on campus.
Roger Spry, an AP biology and AP physics teacher at Tolsia, said the event is a way to give these bright students both exposure to high-tech laboratory equipment and a chance to work in the field.
“We’re working on upgrading our own equipment, but we currently don’t have access to the types of lab equipment available at WVU Tech,” he said. “Our students are doing new things in these labs, like staining bacteria and using powerful microscopes to examine their sizes and shapes.”Tolsia High students wrap up a biology course in WVU Tech’s Orndorff Hall
“We’re also visiting an acid mine drainage site to look at the ecology of the stream and how they’re trying to reclaim that area. An outdoor field environment where students can work with the actual insects they’re studying and where they can see how tools are used in the field is an awesome experience for them, and there are a lot of real-world applications to what they’re doing here,” he said.
For visiting AP biology student Annalyse Mann, the experience was also a glimpse into the future.
“I’ve always liked science since I was young, so it’s nice to be able to have this kind of experience. Just being able to experience college classrooms and labs is great. A lot of the students plan to study biology in college and they get a chance to work in a setting they will be seeing in the future,” she said.
Spry said that the two-day visit is an extension of the longstanding partnership between Tolsia and WVU Tech’s Dr. Kimberlyn Gray, who organizes the annual event.
“I can’t express how thankful we are for the partnership with WVU Tech and Dr. Gray, who is great about working with our students throughout the year,” he said.
View photos from the visit on Flickr.