Brock to host hands-on science event for high school students

Brock University wants to help high school students take a deeper dive into the world of science.

Students from across the province will be immersed in the many aspects of science during the hands-on Scientifically Yours conference held on campus next week.

Presented by Brock’s Faculty of Mathematics and Science, the two-day event is designed to encourage youth to pursue education and careers in science.

About 70 Grade 10 and 11 students from southern and central Ontario are expected to attend this year’s conference, held Thursday May 10 and Friday, May 11. They will participate in a variety of projects and activities, such as building space invaders through basic computer programming, heart and bone health research, forensic science, holograms and interactive neuropsychological tests.  

Along with past favourites, this year’s conference features two new experiences. Tasting and Testing invites students to join researchers from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) in an exploration of what makes juice and pop drinks so tasty. Using specialized software called Compusense, students will perform blind taste tests in Brock’s sensory evaluation lab before moving to the chemistry lab to analyze the sample. The unique balance of sugar and acid will be compared to determine which chemical composition tastes best.

As well, a new project — “The world’s your oyster” — provides students with the opportunity to build their own ecosystem using living species such as brine shrimp and algae. Sealed ecosystems can be taken home for further observation and project participants are invited to share photos and tips with fellow scientists in a Facebook group created exclusively for participants. Other program areas that will be explored in projects include physics, computer science, psychology, mathematics, chemistry and biology.

On Thursday night, students will dine with scientific mentors who will provide insight into their various careers and scientific fields, including environmental sciences, naturopathic medicine, chemistry, health sciences, physics and kinesiology.

Joining the group of mentors this year is CCOVI alumna Rachel Kvas (BSc ’14), who will share her experiences and passion for science. The Oenology and Viticulture grad was recently recognized as one of the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s Top 30 hospitality and foodservice professionals under the age of 30. A Scientifically Yours participant herself, Kvas knows first-hand the benefits of attending this conference.

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