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Geoscience students host science fair for TCU employees’ children

From TCU This Week

A group of geological sciences students recently held a science fair for families of select TCU employees. There were 13 families in attendance, and the students organized and hosted nine activities. 

“My students came up with the idea,” said Associate Professor Omar Harvey, who stresses community outreach.  

Photos by Crystal Avelar

His class participates in monthly service activities, and, this time, students suggested doing something that benefitted TCU families of those who might feel underserved. They issued personal invitations to a small group of employees and their families who don’t often interact with the general population of the campus, Harvey said.  

“TCU is a great place to work, but these are people who may feel marginalized because of language barriers or other reasons,” Harvey said. “We want them to know they are part of our community and we value them.”  

Since it was the first attempt at the event, they wanted to start small and be prepared. They avoided a mass invitation and enlisted lots of help from what became a cross-discipline event. About 40 volunteers and other assistance came from the McNair Scholars, Community Scholars, Geology Club and the Department of Physics & Astronomy, as well as funding from the College of Science & Engineering, Department of Geological Sciences and the Andrews Institute of Mathematics and Science Education.  

“My main role was to secure money to help them provide food and other things,” Harvey said. “The students did the rest.”  

He said their main goal was to make it fun and engaging. According to his students, they succeeded.  

“Parents don’t really get to sit down in classrooms with their kids and actually see what their kids are learning,” said Manyiel Mel, a senior applied geosciences major. “However, in this event, the parents moved from booth to booth with their kids and got to learn science together. This is an opportunity they don’t experience anywhere, and they were excited about it. 

Mel organized the event with fellow members of the Laboratory for Fundamental Research on Geomaterials and Geomimicry (FROGG Labs): students Michaela Donnahoo, Evelyn Morales, Jesse Mugisha, Aurore Manzi, Amy Lam and Caitlin PayblasThe group hopes to repeat and expand the event to reach more families now that they know they have needed support and interested families.  

“These people are a very important part of our TCU community,” Mel said. “Watching them learn was really exciting.”