Science Project Mentorship program kicks off in Austin - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Science Project Mentorship program kicks off in Austin

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AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -

As much as we would like the youth of today to learn at their own pace, sometimes they need a little help. That is the goal of the Riverland Neveln Science Project Mentorship program. It started last spring, and Jennifer Lawhead, one of the mentors last year, is back for more.

"Met some amazing kids and had a chance to do their experiments with them and talk to them about the scientific method and help them prepare their science fair boards for the actual science fair and practice answering questions about what they learned and it was really fun for me," said Lawhead.

Fourth graders at Neveln Elementary gathered at Riverland Community College on Thursday to get excited about this year's program. They took part in some fun experiments led by Riverland professors. Some of them learned about how hard it is to properly wash their hands.

"I'm looking forward to meeting some new students and helping them with their projects. I think that's one of the most important parts of this Science Fair Mentorship program is that students have the opportunity to meet new adults in the community and have opportunities to develop some positive adult relationships in the community," said Lawhead.

Austin community members and Riverland faculty and students will be mentors for the program. They had 33 last year and are hoping for more this year. All of the mentors are thrilled to get a chance to work with the students individually and help them towards a bright future.

"We're going to inspire a lot of kids to do things that they had never thought about doing before, whether it's a science career or not. To open up the mind of a child and let them see the possibilities for the future out there is a very powerful tool," said Catherine Haslag, a Riverland chemistry faculty member. "I think we're going to have a lot of students who start considering options that they would have never thought before and also seeing that the community cares about them and that community involvement is important will also be very beneficial to their future," said Haslag.

102 students participated in the program last year. Organizers are hopeful that Thursday's kickoff event will entice even more students to take part this year.

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