Staging displays that ranged from chemistry experiments to robotics exhibitions, Wayne State University students, faculty and staff stoked visions of college careers for nearly 100 Detroit schoolchildren at Chrysler Elementary School this week as part of the university’s WSU Warrior Day outreach program.
For nearly an hour and a half on Tuesday, Jan. 10, scores of third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students streamed into the school’s multipurpose room for hands-on demonstrations led by teams from Undergraduate Admissions; the School of Medicine and College of Engineering; and Wayne State’s chemistry, environmental sciences and geology, biological sciences, and kinesiology departments.
“We are excited to be here today for this Wayne State Warrior Day,” said LaJoyce Brown, senior associate director of admissions and an organizer of the event, in her opening remarks.
“We want to inspire young minds…When you grow up, no matter what it is you want to be, Wayne State is the college for you. If you would like to grow up and become a judge, Wayne State is the college for you. If you’d like to grow up and become an engineer, Wayne State is the college for you.”
Brown has been planning the event with Chrysler Elementary counselor Mona Lisa Kelly and others as far back as 2020, but the pandemic forced them to postpone.
Judging by the children’s reaction, the long-awaited program was a resounding success. Throughout the morning, students rotated from one display area to another, marveling over animal skulls at the biological sciences table, rooting for tiny robots that raced through mazes at a Department of Engineering display and watching chemistry students whip up foaming messes from test tubes of colored liquid. There were also rock displays, fitness evaluations and a surgical skills table.
“We come to demonstrate science for the children so that they will appreciate chemistry,” said Solomon Effah, a second-year chemistry student and member of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. “We want them to know what they are capable of doing.”
In addition to the displays, the program also offered fine arts activities, including an art collage by students and select book readings to second-graders.
“It’s important to keep the fun in school,” said Latonia Garrett, the director of student success initiatives and academic partnerships, who led the readings. “We need to be here, in the neighborhood, as the neighborhood’s college. And we need to keep learning exciting and engaging.”