Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


BADGER, Robert L., AMATI, Lisa, GREENE, Roberta A., KELSON, Christopher R., RYGEL, Michael C. and REVETTA, Frank, Department of Geology, SUNY Potsdam, 44 Pierrepont Ave, Potsdam, NY 13676,

At SUNY Potsdam, we have a number of outreach programs that bring high school, middle school, and elementary school students to our department for special events. Years later we see some of these students again in our classrooms. They remind us, “Remember me? I was here for . . .”

Our longest running program, at 26 years, is High School Science Lab Day (HSSLD). We invite every high school science teacher in the county, plus some in adjoining counties, to bring their students, and we have activities in Geology, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. If more than 10% took us up on this, we would be overloaded. Over the past 10 years, enrollment in this program has ranged between 126 and 214 students; this year, there were 150. Our Admissions Office tracks these students and can tell us each year how many freshmen made their first contact through HSSLD. Over the past six years, this has varied from 19 to 24.

A second event that we host is middle school Science Olympiad, an event that draws the best and the brightest from grades 5-8. The year that we started hosting this event, our dean attended a workshop on recruiting students, and was told that universities should strive to get middle school students onto campus, to plant in their mind that this is a good place to go. He has supported us well ever since.

A third event is our annual Rock & Fossil Fair and Road Show, partly patterned after TV’s Antique Road Show. For young children, there are sandboxes to dig through to search for buried fossils and minerals. For older kids, there are hands-on and interactive displays. A key feature is our Lucy Booth, patterned after Lucy’s psychiatry booth in the Peanuts cartoon. We invite people to bring in their rocks and minerals for us to try to identify. We hold this event in our Geology Museum and have drawn more than 200 people each of the past two years.