S3 program seeks to integrate science students

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The Scots Science Scholars program, also known as S3, is a STEM Talent Expansion Program, funded by the National Science Foundation. The goal of the program is to help students interested in mathematics or the sciences to stay within their fields by exposing them to the applications of science in everyday life.

On March 16-17, Dr. Maria Siopsis, associate professor of mathematics at MC, and Dr. Angelia Gibson, associate professor of chemistry at MC, travelled to Washington D.C. to a STEM conference.

At this conference, they were able to learn about other STEM programs and gather information about methods that have been successful for other college programs like the one at Maryville College.

The program will feature planned activities in which the S3 scholars will be able to participate. These include activities such as trips to Dollywood, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and zip-lining.

These trips are not simply for entertainment, as the places that the scholars will visit will allow them to apply mathematics and scientific skills. For example, the rides at Dollywood will allow students to examine an application of Queuing Theory by standing in lines for rides.

Siopsis and Gibson are not the only professors that will be working with the Scots Science scholars. Many of the other professors, like Irene Guerinot and Dr. Carl Gombart, have agreed to work with the program to provide examples of how STEM applies to the real world, from subjects ranging as broadly from engineering topics to how geometry affects modern art.

In addition to the faculty on campus getting involved, several students are excited and getting involved in the S3 program.

After the students are inducted into the program, they will be able to help with other projects that current students are working on, including senior studies in biology and chemistry. Peer mentors will also be hired to aid in working with the students themselves in order to provide some insight as to how the current students are interested in STEM majors.

For people interested in STEM, the leaders of the program have established both a Facebook page and Twitter account, where updates on current students in STEM majors or interesting STEM projects (such as a humanoid robot that moves like a tank) are available.

So far, the Facebook page has received about 50 likes and majors and scholars are finding it useful for interaction with one another. This is one example of a STEM success, as S3 aims to encourage communication within the scientific community.

The accepted applicants for the Scots Science Scholars program have been emailed acceptance letters. Applications for the peer mentor positions are currently being accepted.

If students in STEM majors are interested in the program, which will take place from July 29- August 31, they should contact Siopsis or Gibson for further information and an application.

The program provides housing and $1,550 for the four peer mentors that will be hired.  The peer mentor applications are due by April 15.

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