Five Eastern undergraduates, faculty and staff partnered with 13 students from Windham High School (WHS) on April 4 to coordinate a biodiversity expedition to Eastern's Arboretum, as part of the Eastern/WHS Science Mentoring Program.
The purpose of the expedition was to give high school sophomores taking Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses a chance to experience biology in action, reinforce their desire for STEM careers and welcome them to the Eastern campus.
At the Arboretum, students used the scientific method to measure tree dimensions, find invasive species and identify living organisms such as flying bugs, aquatic bugs and tadpoles. Their observations turned into solid questions and testable hypotheses. The students were surprised by the diversity in the arboretum pond.
Eastern students involved in the program included senior Jonathan Corbett, a biology major and program coordinator; sophomore Kim DePaolis, an education major; and senior geography major Max Goto. The expedition was led by Terry Haverkost, assistant professor of biology at Eastern. Brittani Mango, science teacher at Windham High School, supervised the high school students. Dorothy Potter, headmaster of WHS's STEM Academy and Luis Rodríguez, assistant director of Eastern's Center of Community Engagement (CCE), coordinated the project.
"The activity went much better than I could have ever hoped," said Corbett. "The students were engaged in the activity and seemed to be enjoying themselves the entire time. I was glad the students were able to see our facilities at Eastern, and I hope it encourages them to consider biology as a major. I am really looking forward to collaborating with Windham High School again to keep this program moving."