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College for a Day

November 10, 2012

Registration is now closed.

Are you a high school junior or senior interested in studying a science in college? Come experience a day in the life of a college student in the sciences at the University of West Georgia. Faculty in our six science departments have planned a series of course offerings that are sure to educate, interest, and inspire you as you plan your future studies. Students will be signed up for three one-hour classes chosen from eleven offerings and will also be taken on a guided tour of the West Georgia campus. The day will last from 9:00AM to 4:00PM, lunch will be provided, and registration is free of charge!

The course offerings include:


Bee Keeping 101 - Learn the basics of honey bee (Apis mellifera) biology and beekeeping. Learn to describe and identify the various types (individual castes:  workers, drones and the queen) of honey bees in an operational hive. Observe honey bee behavior; identify honey bee brood stages (i.e., egg, larva, pupa, and adult); and observe brood, pollen and honey distribution within the hive. Investigate hive construction and receive "hands-on" instruction in hive management and honey production and harvesting.

BIOL 201:  Introduction to Molecular Biology using a “green fungus/ micro alga” as a model system - In this class you will get an introduction to a unique creature which can behave both as a “fungus” (heterotroph) as well as a “green micro-alga” (autotroph). This creature is used as a model system to study photosynthesis and flagella structure and development; you will learn how molecular biologists identify novel genes and study their function employing a model system. You will be given lab demonstrations from which you can learn how to isolate DNA, perform DNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), run DNA samples on an agarose gel and take pictures of the DNA gel.

 Animal Communication Through Color and Sound - Animals communicate using color and sound.  Birds are a group that is well known for their colorful plumage and beautiful songs.  In this talk, I will review the theory for why we should expect to observe extravagant displays in birds and present some original research on the information conveyed by bird song.


ReAction - (Megumi Fujita and Douglas Stuart) Chemistry is everywhere, even in the movies. Taking a look behind the scenes shows that science rather than “magic” produces spectacular effects.  Special effects, such as fake snow, artificial skin, and big explosions, in movies are not all done with computers!

Catastrophic Chemistry - (Sharmistha Basu-Dutt) Do you love to watch and learn about real investigations of big catastrophes?  We will analyze real video footage and/or animations of well-known chemical accidents to see what went wrong and discuss how to make the process safer.

Computer Science

Dancing Robots - Have you ever wondered how the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are able to travers the Martian landscape or how a vacuum cleaner can roam your living room autonomously cleaning your floor?  
In this session, we will program a small rover robot to perform the most basic task the more sophisticated robots are able to do - roam an area while avoiding objects. Through small, seemingly insignificant, applications Computer Scientists can make people's lives safer, easier and more efficient.


Land Cover with Google Earth - The Google Earth, incubated by The U.S. Department of Defense, provides invaluable information on the earth that changes . This hands-on exercise course is designed to provide students with introductory concepts and skills on geographic information systems (GIS) and air-borne/satellite remote sensing. Students who are interested in urban/regional planning, facility/utility management, surveying, military target analysis, landuse/landcover monitoring, spatial disease analysis, natural resources management, environmental assessment, and business mapping will benefit from this course.

Reconstructing Prehistoric Animals - Many extinct animals are unlike anything alive today, such as the dinosaurs that roamed the earth millions of years ago. Often these animals are reconstructed as movie monsters and shown to behave in ways that are biologically impossible. In this class we will explore the geologic and biologic methods that are used by paleontologists to reconstruct the ecology and biology of the largest land predators that ever lived on Earth.


Simple Lego Towers and Complex Numbers - LEGO blocks come in two heights, the plate has height one and the brick has height 3. Given a collection of 2x2 plates of the same color and 2x2 bricks of a different color, how many distinguishable 2x2 stacks can we build of a given height? We will answer this question through a combination of hands-on building and calculating with a spreadsheet, and look at an interesting connection to imaginary numbers.


Astrophysics: A Look at the Sun - (Ben Jenkins) This course will have students look at the sun through filters. Discussion will include solar layers, stellar populations, fusion and energy production and formation and life cycle of the sun and stars. Sunspots, prominences, and the properties of the heliomagnetosphere will be looked at, as well as, their impact on Earth. It will also cover stellar and solar composition and the methods that we use to determine these attributes.

Superconductivity: An Energy Solution? (Neal Chesnut) We live in a world that desperately needs solutions to our energy crisis.  We pay more for fuel than ever before, and all other shipped items as a consequence.  We have concerns about our environment that we need to address. Superconductivity may not be the first idea that comes to mind when we think of energy problems. However, the ability to store and transmit energy with potentially 100% efficiency could make a “world of difference.” So, what are superconductors, and how do they work? In the class we will observe unusual properties such as levitation and examine the newest class of high temperature superconductors.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Scott Gordon at