Kannapolis Middle and High School Students become “Scientists for a Day”

By the time students reach middle and high school, they are beginning to discern what school subjects excite them, what they have a knack for, or what area of study they need to pursue to follow a desired career path. N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI) at the N.C. Research Campus, in Kannapolis, will host 10 aspiring scientists from Kannapolis Middle School and A.L. Brown High School on Thursday, February, 18. The students will visit working labs and participate in hands-on activities that will help them understand what real-world research looks like and fuel their enthusiasm for science.

The Scientist for a Day program launched in November 2015 with 12 elementary students visiting the campus as part of a community outreach effort, coordinated by Doug Vernon, greenhouse operations and outreach specialist at PHHI. Another group of fourth and sixth graders will be visiting the campus on Tuesday, February 9.

The students are selected by their teachers for displaying a notable enthusiasm for science. Upon arrival at the Research Campus, the students will don a lab coat, meet research scientists and participate in age-appropriate, hands-on activities in several labs. In addition to visiting PHHI labs, students will also visit the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab, where they will learn about how what you eat affects your athletic performance and participate in some of the physical tests used for assessment in their research. The lab of UNC Charlotte researcher, Dr. Ann Lorraine, and the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) are also joining in on the fun, showcasing their specialty areas of bioinformatics and microscopy. Before returning to their respective schools, the young scientists will enjoy lunch on campus at the Lettuce Eat Café.

Vernon’s goal for Scientist for a Day is to, “offer a high impact experience for science-focused students, as opposed to a generic, large group tour.” Furthermore, it is an avenue for building stronger connections between the campus and the community. “We hope that the students will share stories with their classmates, family and neighbors, about what they learned about research that it happening in their own hometown.”



“Scientist for a Day” Participants

  • Forest Park Elementary – Paige Gaskins, Josephine Geoghan
  • Jackson Park Elementary – Madison Mueller, Alex Khamphoumy
  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary – Emmanuel Cortes Moran, Dylan McKinney
  • Fred L. Wilson Elementary – Zoe Kilby, Chris Lawson
  • Shady Brook Elementary – Dendric Penn, Kendall Johnson
  • Kannapolis Intermediate School – Jathan Johnson, Tanner Adams
  • Kannapolis Middle School – Matthew Wilson, Gabby White, Dwana Dowling, Braylee Childers, Sierra Ramirez
  • A.L. Brown High School – Anahi Pena, Julian Robles, Lea Hilton, Lauryn Bainbridge