Webster utilizes Browning Hall to reach science students outside campus


Webster University is using Browning Hall to further science development beyond its own campus. The St. Louis Academy of Science held its High School Student Honors Division Science Project contest Feb. 24.

The Academy of Science Special Projects and Events Coordinator  Peggy James Nacke was excited for the kids to be at Webster’s Browning Hall.

“It’s just been perfect,” Nacke said. “Around 30 kids have had their posters up and down the hallways, they got to peak inside the real labs and see what’s in their own backyard for science education.”

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 7.21.24 PMAround 75 regional science experts judged the high school students on their researched projects. Ten students were selected by the judges and won a $1,000 scholarship. The top student presenter won a trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair held in Pittsburgh, Pa. this spring. The top three will present their award at the 24th Annual Outstanding Scientists Awards Dinner held in April at the Botanical Gardens.  

Some of the projects included a research project by Cor Jesu Academy senior, Mary Grace Sullivan. She researched the fluoride varnish on teeth soaked in various acids. Alise Mccullison is also a senior at Cor Jesu and her science project was the study of the effectiveness of shielding materials in responses to different types of radiation.

This is Webster’s first time to host the contest. The event was previously held at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. The 186-year-old St. Louis Academy of Science helped plan the opening of the Missouri Botanical Gardens in 1859.  

Nacke said the academy’s mission today is the same as it was back then: to help bring an understanding of the sciences to the public.

“We hold several events and education outreach programs,” Nacke said. “We are actually looking to attend Webster for their Volunteer Day here in the fall. Dean Wallner brought that up, it would be great for the kids.”

Webster Professor Nicole Miller-Struttman said Webster hopes to continue hosting the Honors Division Science contest.

“Their organization is wonderful to work with and their mission is amazing, so we are really excited to be a part of it,” Struttman said. “When we were doing introductions earlier today, it was clear how important these experiences are. The kids came up with the ideas, they designed their experiments, and they have a lot to be proud of.”

Dean of Arts and ScienceScreen Shot 2018-03-01 at 7.18.45 PMs Anton Wallner was glad to have the event at the Browning Hall Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB). He said the ISB allows students more of a hands-on experience.

“Browning Hall is an amazing facility,” Wallner said. “It allows the faculty and students to continue and expand the great work they are doing.”

Wallner said the ISB is a great place to hold these sorts of events because of it is state of the art.

“The terminology used is “science on display” because of the architectural design,” Wallner said. “The combination of the additional space and facilities, will help lead faculty and students to even greater scientific discoveries.”

The Webster University Interdisciplinary Science Building opened last October.

The ISB is almost 88 thousand square feet, has 27 laboratories, 71 offices, a 129-seat auditorium and a saltwater tank with a coral reef.

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