Students at Barton Community College have left for their Thanksgiving break, but the campus was a busy place on Monday as area high school students attended the 14th annual Jack Kilby Science Day.
This free event was open to high school juniors and seniors, and a few other gifted students, as well as their science and technology instructors.
The scheduled keynote presentation featured Dr. Charles Rice, a University Distinguished Professor who holds the Vanier University Professorship at Kansas State University. He is a Professor of Soil Microbiology in the Department of Agronomy, and his topic was “Climate Change: What it means for Kansas.”
After the presentation, students had time to attend two hands-on science classes, exploring areas as diverse as “Bird Watching 101” with Curtis Wolf from the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and “Forensic Science Blood Spatter Analysis,” taught by Melissa Stevens, Barton’s Criminal Justice instructor and coordinator.
Wolf took students on a walking tour of campus, equipped with binoculars, and they identified doves, geese, starlings and gulls as they flew overhead. Stevens had them securing plastic vials with “bio-hazard” stickers while wearing gloves.
In Jennifer Pfortmiller’s class, “Take the Pepsi Challenge, Again!” students learned some of the science behind what makes food taste good (or bad), as well as a few of the many careers in food science. Pfortmiller is Kansas State University’s academic program coordinator at Barton, but also has a bachelor’s degree in food science and a master’s degree in meat science/animal science.
At noon the students were treated to pizza and an academic carnival in the Kirkman Gymnasium.
The event is named in honor of electrical engineer Jack Kilby, inventor of the integrated circuit. Kilby was a Great Bend High School graduate and in 2000 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. He is the subject of the sculpture “The Gift” in front of the Barton County Courthouse.