It is not every day that students get to spend time with an individual who splits atoms and makes diesel fuel from peanuts. However, that is exactly what happened when Greg Smith from The North Carolina BioNetwork visited sixth grade students at West Edgecombe Middle School.
Smith stated that he has enjoyed a career as a scientist in North Carolina, as his work has helped contribute to the growth of the Biotechnology industry and he holds several patents for his research.
The focus of Smith’s presentation was science, education, and what having a career in science can mean for students.
He educated the sixth grade science students about the growing field of biotechnology in North Carolina and what would be required of students if they wished to pursue studies in that area.
Smith also brought homemade moisturizer and diesel fuel along with him to help illustrate some of the real life applications being knowledgeable about science can have.
Unique Braswell, a student in Angela Garrow’s sixth grade science class, explained that she thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s presentation.
“I asked Mr. Smith if there were any famous scientists in Rocky Mount,” Braswell said. “He reminded me that farmers and people who work in hospitals are also scientists. If I decide to become a scientist, I want to be like him and earn a Ph.D. because he is successful and obviously earns a lot of money.”
“Often times, it is very difficult for students in middle school to see the correlation between the effort they put forth in the classroom and success they can experience later in their lives,” said Angela Garrow, a sixth grade science teacher at West Edgecombe. “Mr. Smith did an exceptional job demonstrating for our students the importance of working hard in school by providing tangible examples of the benefits of doing so.”
Smith left the students with a final thought.
“If you want to pursue a career in science, the time to decide is now,” he said.