STEM Career Investigation Program (SCIP)

Spring 2014 Final Report

The STEM Career Investigation Program (SCIP) concluded its first year for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in Nevada in the Spring 2014. The goal of SCIP is to provide students with opportunities to observe research and career presentations by scientists and engineers in a wide array of specialties in order to understand how the STEM disciplines are integrated. In addition, the presentations outlined possibilities for students’ future career paths. Speakers came from various departments at the University of Nevada, Reno and one speaker represented the Desert Research Institute (DRI). Speakers were invited to present their current research projects to the students and discuss future job possibilities for someone with their degree and area of specialization.

Spring 2015 SCIP seminar series will be open to 10th-12th grade high school students from Reno/Sparks high schools.  The seminar series will be held at the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Spring 2014 Seminar Series

SCIP’s seminar series ran from February 11 to March 18, 2014. There were six sessions in total, occurring every Tuesday evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Forty-one students signed up for the SCIP sessions with 32 students attending regularly. Twenty-four of the 32 regular participants were female and eight were male. The students come from ten different high schools in Washoe County School District.

At the first session, students were introduced to the career of marine biology and research conducted in Antarctica. The presenter was Dr. Chris Fritsen from DRI. Dr. Fritsen brought in a range of supplemental materials to show the students the equipment he worked with while doing his research. The second SCIP session featured Dr. Richard Kelley from the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UNR. Dr. Kelley is a roboticist and showed the students the advances in robotics that he has been working on at the university. The third session presenter was Dr. Jennifer Hollander from the Biology Department at UNR. Dr. Hollander explained her research with ephedra and also discussed her work as the head of the Human Anatomy and Physiology dissection team and lecturer for the Human Anatomy class on campus. The students got to work with materials that Dr. Hollander uses on a daily basis in her career. Dr. Scott Mensing from the Geography Department at UNR was the fourth speaker for SCIP. Dr. Mensing discussed his research with mud and brought mud cores in for the students to analyze. Additionally, Dr. Mensing used microscopes and pollen slides to engage the students in his research and every day work. The fifth session speaker was Dr. Danny Taylor from Mining Engineering at UNR. Dr. Taylor showed students videos of mines and brought two Mining Engineering students with him to interact with the participants. The final speaker was Dr. Michael Leverington from the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UNR. Dr. Leverington shared his varied background and educational experiences and discussed the importance of pursuing dreams throughout one’s life.

The research findings reflected that the participants were able to operationalize their career knowledge to some degree during the seminar series. Additionally, the findings were significant in regard to participants’ willingness to pursue STEM degrees after participating in SCIP.

Here are the videos taken of the 2014 SCIP presentations, in full: