Sci on the Fly improves outreach
The Colorado State University (CSU) College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) Department of Outreach and Engagement Associate Director Wade Ingle’s role has been to build mobile learning labs, packed into trailers.
“As a relatively new initiative, our goal was to create a centralized, robust outreach program in order to help diversify faculty staff and students,” mentions Ingle. “With that, I created this program shortly after getting hired with CSU – what we’ve done is built a mobile lab as an outreach program in an effort to get veterinarian medicine information to folks who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to come and engage with us at the CSU Spur program campus.”
Ingle notes there is a lot of new development with the Sci on the Fly mobile units, and the outreach program provides virtual reality learning opportunities for adults and children while providing an opportunity to experience the same human and animal biology programs CSU students take in the classroom.
The mobile units have the ability to travel around the state of Colorado and surrounding areas to teach kids about veterinary work. They were recently in Cheyenne for the Cowbelles Ag Expo.
“I got involved with the ag expo after meeting some individuals out on the road,” says Ingle. “We’ve been traveling to Cowbelles Ag Expo in Cheyenne for about two years now on behalf of CVMBS.”
Soon, a series of eight high-end gaming computers will be available in the mobile unit to run advanced team-based programs focused on teaching youth about the connections between humans, animals and the environment. Digital microscopes will also be available, as well as additional programming highlighting career opportunities in virology and anesthesiology.
“We are charged with statewide exposure, but if it’s a larger event and hits our targeted areas such as Cowbelles, we’re excited to come up and go to events like the ag expo,” he says.
Mobile unit programs
“Our program stems around current research happening on campus at CSU and beyond,” he says. “Our objectives change and our program changes as science evolves, so our program represents all the departments on a college-wide basis at CVMBS.”
The interior of the lab, from its desk spaces to countertops and cabinets, is built from wood harvested from trees on Ingle’s land which were burned in the Cameron Peak Fire. The unit built for students by students focuses on current research but also teaches kids about career opportunities upon graduation, mentions Ingle.
“We’re there to help provide resources and information for families interested in learning more on how to make a plan after kindergarten through 12th grade,” says Ingle. “The trailers are really cool and it’s really neat to have this connection with the CSU Spur program.”
In addition, the CSU Spur program offers youth hands-on, experiential education connecting students to scientists, researchers, veterinarians and faculty. CSU Spur is free and open to all educational groups – schools, field trips, after-school programs and summer camps.
Every second Saturday of the month, CSU Spur hosts always-changing learning opportunities. During the event, visitors are able to visit the Kid’s Mock Vet Clinic and Kid’s Kitchen, experience virtual reality and the rooftop greenhouses and green roof, see horses assist with therapy for people and experience educational exhibits and art installations.
“The CSU Spur campus is a separate campus from the Fort-Collins CVMBS campus, but Sci on the Fly works in partnership with the CSU Spur program, which is system-wide effort on outreach and engagement with the public,” mentions Ingle. “The Spur campus includes three different buildings: The Vida building focuses on animal and human health, equine sports medicine and assisted therapy; the Terra building focuses on ag and horticulture; and the Hydro building focuses on water and water management.”
“Our partnership stems from the Vida building because they do a lot of veterinarian work there – it’s all open to the public for them to go in and see,” he adds.
The CSU Spur campus is free to the public and open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month.
For more information on Sci on the Fly, visit stem.colostate.edu/community/wade-m-ingle-m-ed/, and for more information on the Spur program, visit csuspur.org.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.