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Nation’s Top Young Scientists Share Expertise

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Sixth grade students at an Urban Assembly School got to experience hands-on science discovery and experiments from some of the nation’s top young teenage scientists.

Siemans Science Day was held at Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science at 1595 Bathgate Avenue on Thursday, January 26. The school’s 100 sixth-graders got to meet scientists from the Siemens Corporation, a global leader in electronics and electrical engineering, as well as one of an individual teenage winner of the 2011-12 Siemans Competition in Math, Science, and Technology and a $100,000 scholarship, Angela Zhang, 17, who has done pioneering research in cancer treatments.

Several of the other teens from around the country who also won scholarships from the company were also on hand to share their passion for science with the students.

The partnership between the company and school has been going on for several years, and it is a highlight of the school’s calender, said Urban Assembly for Applied Science and Mathematics principal Kenneth Baum.

The partnership, which had the young scientists and those from Siemans demonstrate how air resistance works by creating paper helicopters in a physics experiment, works well because children learn best from their peers, and many of the people visiting the school were teenagers who all had achieved great scientific accomplishments, Baum stated.

“We can talk about what it means to be a science and earn a living as a scientist,” Baum stated. “But then we get to meet young people who are in high school and who are motivated by science, and it is inspiring to see these young people learning and loving science.”

Along with athletes and actors, who are often glorified in society, the Siemans Science Day program helps the children in the school identify young scientists who they can look up to as role models as they go through the process of figuring out their identities, Baum stated.

“Our society glorifies athletes and actors and I think that Siemans is doing a wonderful job celebrating scientists and young scientists,” Baum stated.

Siemans Science Days are typically done by volunteer employees from the company, with the goal of getting young people interested in math and science so that the might consider going further and pursing majors related to science and engineering in a college setting, said chairman of the Siemans Foundation Thomas McCausland.

The students were told and shown how science and math could be the most fun they every had, and they had curiosity about the scientific process, Zhang said.

Several students in teacher Erica Ajayi’s sixth-grade science class, who work in teams to create paper helicopters, said that they enjoyed going through the scientific process of discovery.

“What I like about science is that we get to experience different things,” said student Sheila Sands, who said she particularly interested in the science affecting weather. “I think that this experiment was fun because we are learning how to create helicopters and studying how they twirl around and drop to the floor.”

Student Julius Mentor said that he particularly liked the helicopter experiment because he got to make something and because he likes origami.

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