MISSOULA – More than 100 eighth graders from Hamilton Middle School will visit the University of Montana to experience a day of STEM, entrepreneurship and higher education on Monday, Dec. 7.
During morning lab tours the visiting students will meet UM faculty members and graduate students and learn about research opportunities at UM. Guided by faculty and graduate student lab hosts, students will learn about the health sciences with SimMan, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy’s patient simulator; explore the night sky in UM’s planetarium while learning about undergraduate research through the observatory for exoplanet detection, Project MINERVA; use an electron microscope to study objects far too small to see with the naked eye; explore neurology through fruit fly research; and learn about animal weapons by handling live and pinned insects.
A lunchtime entrepreneurship panel will feature local business, health care and research leaders, including VIZn Energy board chairman Craig Wilkins, Swan Valley Medical President and CEO Ronald Zook, Rivertop Renewables Research Scientist Kelly Barton and Bradley Berry, a cardiologist at Providence St. Patrick Hospital’s International Heart Institute and a graduate of Hamilton High School.
Undergraduate student ambassadors from UM Admissions will lead afternoon campus tours, culminating in a visit to John Hoyt Field at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
The event is organized by We Are Montana in the Classroom, a program of the UM Broader Impacts Group that places UM faculty members, graduate students and professionals in K-12 classrooms to inspire students about higher education and career pathways. This fall, We Are Montana in the Classroom has reached over 5,000 students through statewide tours, local classroom visits and distance-learning experiences.
Broader Impacts Group Director Holly Truitt said the goal of the program is to get middle school students excited about higher education while preparing them for the many educational career options available to them beyond high school.
“We’re delighted to host Hamilton’s eighth grade on campus to share with them the extraordinary opportunities in STEM and entrepreneurship that await them at UM,” Truitt said.
Chad DeLong, owner of Sustainable Efficiency Inc., said he believes co-sponsoring the event is a valuable investment.
“This is just one of many efforts by both the private and public sectors to build upon the great job that K-12 educators are doing and to show our kids that Montana has world-class educational institutions, world-class companies and is a great place for entrepreneurial ideas to flourish,” DeLong said.
K-12 teachers can learn more about the array of free programs offered through We Are Montana in the Classroom by emailing Program Manager Nathalie Wolfram at firstname.lastname@example.org.