April 12, 2024

Wayne State's Science Policy Network-Detroit hosts event for local high school students, showcasing research opportunities to future scientists

Students from Crockett Midtown High School of Science and Medicine engage in a research presentation at Wayne State University.
Students from Crockett Midtown High School of Science and Medicine engage in a research presentation at Wayne State University during the "Science Fair with a Twist" event hosted by Science Policy-Network Detroit at Wayne State University.

Wayne State University’s Carnegie classification in the highest research category is matched by the highest classification for community engagement — a testament to the institution’s positive impact on our community, state and beyond.  

This marriage of research and community engagement was on full display earlier this month as Science Policy Network-Detroit (SciPol-Detroit), a student-led science advocacy organization, hosted a “Science Fair with a Twist” at the university’s STEM Innovation Learning Center with funding from Research!America.  

The "Science Fair with a Twist" gave Detroit high school students an opportunity to engage with research, while giving Wayne State scholars valuable presentation experience. 

That twist? Giving 30 high school seniors from Crockett Midtown High School of Science and Medicine in the Detroit Public Schools Community District the opportunity to judge scientific research presentations by Wayne State students and faculty. Topics included “How the brain talks” and “How flies find the X,” bringing real-world scientific work to life while offering Crockett students a look at the work being done at Wayne State. 

The event also gave WSU students and faculty valuable presentation experience.

“This event puts the power in the hands of high schoolers and challenges researchers to explain their work in a way that’s understandable to high school students,” said Emma Fidler, a doctoral candidate in biological sciences and founder and vice president of SciPol-Detroit.   

Hilary Marusak, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences in the School of Medicine and a SciPol-Detroit advisor, agreed.

“Scientists aren’t typically trained to talk to the public about research, so this challenged our students and scientists,” she said. “They rose to the challenge! We had a set of extraordinary, engaging presentations.”  

Graduate School Dean Amanda Bryant-Friedrich encouraged the Detroit students to consider a scientific career and furthering their education at Wayne State University.

Following the competition, the high school attendees and presenters enjoyed various educational activities. Graduate School Dean Amanda Bryant-Friedrich and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Lori Pile also engaged with the visiting students, providing insights and encouragement for embarking on a scientific career.  

“Having students on the Wayne State University campus from our local community is important for us,” said Bryant-Friedrich. “We are here to serve them. With Wayne State’s many research, creative and scholarly experts who work in and are interested in Detroit, we can provide information to the community which is relevant to them.”


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