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Kannapolis students become scientists for a day

A select group of aspiring young scientists donned lab coats at NC State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute recently as they got to conduct hands-on experiments alongside scientists in five laboratories.

Their visit was part of the PHHI’s latest community outreach effort, “Scientist for a Day,” held on Nov. 17 in Kannapolis at the North Carolina Research Campus. The campus is a public-private venture advancing the fields of human health, nutrition and agriculture.

Teachers selected 12 fourth- and sixth-grade students — two from each elementary and intermediate school in the Kannapolis City School System — for the activity. Doug Vernon, greenhouse operations and outreach specialist with the institute, organized the event to encourage the students’ interest in science and to help build connections between the institute and the community.

To facilitate the partnership with the school system, Vernon worked with Jackie Lane, a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, teacher at Jackson Park Elementary. She said the program exposed students to “exciting job opportunities their community has to offer.”

“Our hope for this program is to inspire students to pursue their love of learning in STEM and maybe even become the next great scientist or engineer, right here in Kannapolis,” she said.

The Plants for Human Health Institute is part of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

— Staff Report