On November 18th, the College of Natural Resources hosted fifteen biology and chemistry high school students from Goldsboro High School in a day of exploring natural resources careers and bioproducts and bioenergy laboratory activities. Their teacher, Jonas Almerino, a participant in the USDA-funded Sustainable Bioproducts and Bioenergy Program, lead the field trip hoping to inspire students for their future academic careers with a campus visit.
A full team of staff, faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students welcomed the high school group. The College of Natural Resources Recruitment team shared about many attributes of CNR majors and related careers.
Students expanded on their biology and chemistry knowledge with hands-on lab activities including 1) biorefinery modeling with pineapple biomass to ethanol and paper 2) production and characterization of biopolymers, and 3) flotation for paper recycling. Students ended the day with a Kahoot! quiz game about the applications of bioproducts and bioenergy. In a thank you letter following the trip, Mr. Almerino wrote “One group of students said that we should have the field trip earlier so that they were able to get ideas for their science fair project.” and “One of the students also asked for the contact number of the recruiter.”
Mr. Almerino has successfully taken his excitement about bioproducts to his classes on more than one occasion. Last year, he mentored a group of four students in a science fair competition. The group took agricultural waste (corn husk material) and pulped the material and then produced paper from the fibers, demonstrating the advantages of a circular economy and the biorefinery concept. The project garnered two awards in separate competitions.
Richard Venditti would like to thank the team that made the effort possible: Dr. Med Byrd, Dr. Hasan Jameel, Alex Loflin, Jennifer Piercy, Michele Serrano, Kimber Lunsford, Shana McAlexander, Heather Starkey, Antonio Suárez, Franklin Zambrano Gotera, Jacob Zwilling, Thad Hubble, William Maier, Lilly Humphries, and Ryan Lee. What a team!