Some might feel they need to flock to urban areas for a career in the field of science, but at an event at Millennium Charter Academy, students learned there are opportunities in the field right in their own backyards.
On Thursday morning Millennium held a science exposition, inviting local companies to come to the school and showcase the science-related careers available at their organizations.
Multiple local companies took the school up on the offer, including Renfro Corp. Advanced Electronic Systems Inc., Nester Hosiery, North Carolina Foam Industries, Ottenweller and Northern Hospital of Surry County; high school students received tutorials from each. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was also represented at the event.
Bethany Shepherd, a science teacher at the school, said when she took her daughter to a Science Olympiad event in Raleigh, the two witnessed such an event.
Shepherd said she worked with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and the Surry County Economic Development Partnership to set up the event, which purposely highlighted the opportunities which exist in Surry County.
“We wanted to show our students they don’t have to move to Charlotte or Raleigh,” said Shepherd, who is a Surry County native. “They can find great jobs in science right here in Surry County.”
Wednesday was the first time for such an event, and Shepherd said she hopes to repeat it in the future.
She explained businesses were asked to bring a hands-on demonstration.
Renfro showed kids the science behind dyeing fabric.
“It takes a lot of precision to dye,” said Renfro’s Chris Sparks as he showed students a booklet with hundreds of different shades of blue. “There’s actually a lot of chemistry that goes into making socks.”
Nester showed up with a Millennium Charter Academy pair of socks and explained its process of making the attire, and at the North Carolina Foam Industries table, students got the opportunity to make foam.
A physical therapist from Northern Hospital explained the science behind how the body works, and how she and assistants help to make it work better.
Given the career-oriented goal of the event, Shepherd also invited universities. N.C. State University attended and told students about academic opportunities in the field of science.
“We wanted the education aspect so kids can learn how to bridge the gap between where they are now and what they want to do as a career,” added Shepherd.
Shepherd noted when she travels elsewhere she sees businesses and college professors teaming with students on projects. She hopes Wednesday’s event may help build such relationship opportunities for Millennium students, and she emphasized those relationships can be built in Surry County.
“I never want our students to feel disadvantaged because they live in a rural county,” remarked Shepherd.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.