Photo by Corinne Nicholson
BUFORD -- Nearly 300 Gwinnett County Public Schools students spent the day Friday immersed in science.
The 31st annual Gwinnett Regional Science and Engineering Fair was more than an exhibition of the 180 student-researched projects in behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, computer science, engineering, environmental sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, and more.
Before students interviewed with judges, they attended a career fair and sessions about science and health care, engineering and careers in the video game industry.
Adding these elements to the science fair broadens students' horizons beyond their own high schools, said Mary Elizabeth Davis, the school system's director of science.
"We emphasize in Gwinnett County Public Schools the significance of developing 21st century skills in all of our students," Davis said. "We recognize that scientific research and problem solving is an international objective. ... Our goal is to motivate students to consider science and engineering in their future career options."
Hayden Gregg, a sophomore at Peachtree Ridge, said it was interesting to see the different companies represented at the career fair.
"We're seeing all the different opportunities science can lead you to after you graduate from college -- all the different choices you have," he said.
Tom Mundie, the dean of the School of Science and Technology at Georgia Gwinnett College, said many of the students who participate in the science fair are interested in science careers, and it's important for them to see the range of possibilities they can be involved in.
"Many times students think science is pre-med," Mundie said. "It's good for students to see all the things they can do."
Participants of the career fair included Atlanta Electrical Contractors, Delta Air Lines, EMS Technologies, Gwinnett County Police Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Power, Gwinnett Medical Center, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, Mayfield Dairy, OFS Optics, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement and Zoo Atlanta.
Postsecondary schools represented at the career fair included Georgia Gwinnett College, Gwinnett Technical College, the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and the University of Georgia Science Education Department.
"The biggest thing (students) get out of this is they get to see other kids involved in science," said John Edgar, a chemistry and Advanced Placement environmental science teacher at Duluth High School. "It's a day of immersion in science. It's beneficial to the kids. They get excited about it, and they can build on it in the future."