Dare to discover: Young researchers visit TU - The University of Tulsa

Dare to discover: Young researchers visit TU

On July 16, 15 students and three teachers from Tulsa’s Will Rogers High School attended Discovery Day, a new event hosted by The University of Tulsa’s Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC). Discovery Day offers high school students the opportunity to meet with TURC students to hear about current research projects, ask questions, explore ideas and discover their inner researcher. 

young woman handling material near a 3D printing machine
A Will Rogers student experimenting in the 3D electrochemistry lab

The 12 various lab sessions offered included 3D printing of soft materials, virtual reality nursing training, biofuels and more.  

In the 3D printing lab, students learned about the development of a 3D printer for “squishy” or “soft” materials, such as inks, pastes, slurries and gels.  

In the virtual reality nursing training lab, they were introduced to software being developed by TU students from computer simulation, computer science and gaming backgrounds. This software is intended to be used to train future nurses. 

Another lab showcased at Discovery Day involved biofuels. These TURC participants study the use of genetic engineering to modify algae to produce biofuels, therapeutic proteins and nutraceuticals. They also develop strategies to grow algae in open ponds without getting contaminated by other microbes. 

Hands-on learning through community partnership

a person in a grey t-shirt wearing virtual reality goggles
A student using virtual reality equipment for nursing training

Vincent Facione, an advanced placement world history teacher at Will Rogers, attended Discovery Day alongside his students. “Many of our students have dreams of achieving a degree in the areas of research and science, but they just do not know where to begin the process of making their dreams become reality,” Facione said. “Providing them with opportunities to participate in hands-on activities and to watch the technological and scientific advances was a fantastic opportunity!” 

Melissa AbdoTrue Blue Neighbors’ program coordinator, arranged the event with Will Rogers teachers and students. “We are always excited to host high school students on campus, and Discovery Day was a great opportunity for these students to observe, ask questions and explore college-level research,” Abdo commented. “True Blue Neighbors has strong partnerships with our neighborhood schools, and we look forward to helping facilitate more opportunities like this in the future.” 

A small group of people standing in a room listening to a woman in a blue shirt speak
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Hema Ramsurn gives students instructions in the 3D lab

Find out more about True Blue Neighbors’ work connecting TU to our community!