Ph.D. student Courtney traveled to Washington, D.C. to volunteer at the USA Science & Engineering Festival on Saturday, April 6th. This free 2 day event was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and had over 3,000 exhibitors and 350,000 visitors! The mission of this festival is to stimulate interest in the nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields.
As a student member of ASLO (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography), Courtney participated as a volunteer for the CASS (Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies) booth which shared activities and information about aquatic sciences for all age levels. Students were taught about the different morphologic adaptations of all types of plankton and asked to build their own plankton models to “race” to see who’s creation would sink the slowest. Students also learned about turbidity and how to use a secchi disk. The CASS booth alone interacted with ~3,300 young students, parents and teachers! Many students left the booth with a better understanding of what plankton look like and why they are important in the environment.