We were lucky enough to tag along when sixth graders from the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont STEM Excellence and Leadership program visited the University of Iowa State Hygienic Lab (SHL) with their teacher, Maura Young. Their journey started with students investigating a hypothetical zombie outbreak at Iowa county fairs across the state. Through this simulation, students learned about the role of the SHL in disease detection across the state.
Students also had the opportunity to visit the SHL’s limnology lab to learn how Iowa’s waterways are monitored and see some intriguing aquatic invertebrates.
They toured the serology and microbiology labs to learn about how the SHL lab runs the state’s newborn screening and infectious disease testing programs, which featured a memorable peek at a tapeworm.
Students learned about new STEM careers they had not considered before and saw some of the many different science disciplines conducted at the State Hygienic Lab that improve Iowans’ quality of life.
It was a great day full of discovery! We would like to thank our hosts at the SHL for creating such an interesting and informative afternoon. We would also like to acknowledge the support of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the National Science Foundation for the STEM Excellence and Leadership program.