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COSAM Inspires Young Scientists through Outreach Program that Goes Under the Surface

Published: 01/14/2020

By: Austin Barnard

Video by: Austin Barnard

Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) utilizes outreach programs to encourage people to gain a better understanding of sciences and mathematics and inspire youth to pursue a career in STEM fields.

One program aims to achieve this goal in elementary school aged children by providing them the opportunity to visit Auburn University and participate a hands-on STEM activity guided by COSAM faculty. The Getting Under the Surface (GUTS) program is held a few times each year and offers sessions for 1st-3rd and 4th-6th grade students. The mission of GUTS is to enhance science literacy and engagement within our community by providing relevant science activities to students and their parents.

During the Fall 2019 term, GUTS provided two STEM activities for local youth. One experiment focused on DNA and allowed participants to swab their own cheek cells and extract DNA. They were then able to put their extracted DNA into a test tube necklace and take home as a wearable keepsake. The professor explained how DNA is responsible for various aspects of someone’s physical attributes and acts as the makeup of someone’s identity.

The other experiment, geared toward a slightly older age group, allowed participants to dive into the eye – literally. Participants, along with expert instruction and explanation, were able to dissect a sheep eye to help gain a better understanding of the anatomy of a mammalian eye.

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