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MSU's third annual Science University event starts Friday

April 12, 2012

This weekend, MSU’s campus will be invaded by curious visitors and students of years past for the College of Natural Science’s third annual Science University event.

Beginning Friday, about 140 alumni, faculty, staff, students and visitors are expected to make their way to MSU to attend an awards program for the college, tours of campus buildings and courses and presentations about the latest scientific happenings at MSU, Elizabeth Wheeler, College of Natural Science alumni relations coordinator, said in an email.

“It’s an opportunity for alumni and friends to return to campus, meet fellow alumni, interact with faculty and students and experience some of the great things taking place here today,” Wheeler said.

The event provides alumni and others a chance to see the latest science research and facilities because MSU has changed since many of the alumni were students here, Wheeler said. Feedback from previous Science University events has been extremely positive, she said.

“The classes are intended to provide a snapshot of ongoing research while offering insights into many areas of science at MSU,” Wheeler said.

The event is open to alumni from all colleges and other guests who aren’t alumni, Wheeler said. Courses will be offered in a variety of topics including environmental conservation, complex physics materials, geology and microbiology.

Gregg Howe, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, will be teaching a class called “All Stressed Out and No Place to Go — Plant Interactions with the Environment,” which is about how plants are affected by their surroundings. Howe said he was delighted to be invited to his first Science University event, and he hopes guests leave with a feeling that MSU is at the forefront of scientific research.

“Alumni and other visitors are excited about coming here and learning about the latest things happening,” Howe said. “There are a lot of exciting things happening here in terms of science.”

Science University will serve as another opportunity to showcase research and practice presentation skills for doctoral student Sheldon Turner, who will be instructing the “Water Troubles: How Scientists Can Help the Public Make Natural Resource Decisions” course on Saturday.

Turner’s research focuses on finding more efficient ways of communicating scientific topics to the common people who don’t have a background in science, he said. Turner said he hopes the event will help some of the attending alumni remember why they chose to major in science.

“If they’re alumni, that means they were excited enough in science to (choose that) as their majors,” Turner said. “I hope it sort of refreshes that interest in science.”

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