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Elementary students participate in the Discovery Days event.

Discovery Days inspires curiosity and a passion for science

By Hannah Ashton

Polar bears have black skin, and all the ants in the world would weigh more than all the people.

Elementary school students were shocked to learn these true science fun facts while participating in the fall 2022 Discovery Days outreach program.

Nearly 1,000 students from 13 schools and homeschool programs traveled to Oregon State University to participate in the biannual outreach program. Discovery Days immerses students in the rich and diverse world of science.

“Discovery Days is such a wonderful opportunity for Oregon State to give back to our community. Faculty, graduate students, staff and hundreds of undergraduate students volunteer their time to offer dynamic activities to excite local youth about STEM,” said Gabs James, associate director of student engagement for the College of Science and the Discovery Days coordinator. “I am constantly amazed by the care and energy the OSU community brings to this program.”

Students participated in a variety of hands-on learning exercises, including learning about bird beaks, creating paper rockets, watching fish larvae through a microscope and studying the different muscles in the body.

A young student looks through a microscope.

A young student looks through a microscope.

Magnus L’Argent, a fourth-year mechanical engineering and physics double-major student, volunteered on behalf of the Oregon State University American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics club.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to give back to the broader community and try to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists and get them interested in STEM,” L’Argent said.

Svea Bruslind, who volunteered with Sigma Delta Omega, a sorority dedicated to women in science, actually attended Discovery Days as a young child. From Lacomb, a small town outside of Lebanon, she is a fourth-year student majoring in zoology and minoring in photography.

“It’s important that we give a human face to science. The kids can remember, ‘Oh, I met this super cool person from Discovery Days and they taught me all of these cool facts,’” Bruslind said. “Science has a history of being elitist and that is really unfortunate because science is for everyone. Every single person on earth interacts with science on a daily basis and it’s important they have a positive experience with it.”

Elementary students interact with individuals from the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

Elementary students interacting with individuals from the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

Students traveled from Lincoln City, Sweet Home, Stayton, Toledo, Albany, Lebanon, Philomath and Corvallis to participate in the activities. Together with the College of Science, the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences participated. More than 10 other clubs and organizations volunteered their time as well.

The College of Science is proud to continue the Discovery Days legacy, and is excited to offer the program again April 18 and 19 this coming spring.

Read more stories about: events, students, college of science, outreach