The third annual Science, Mathematics and Engineering Symposium was held at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus earlier this month.
“The symposium is a chance for the students to experience what it’s like at a professional science conference,” says Dr. Peter Iles, Associate Dean of Natural Sciences at Salt Lake Community College.
In the Student Event Center, across from The Lair, posters created by SLCC students were on display. Posters included “Geomorphic and Chemical Characteristics of Dust and Soil in the Eastern Basin of Utah” and “Heavy Metal Levels of Soils in the Mill D South Fork Canyon, Utah.” Many of the posters are result of original undergraduate research.
“If you go to a large scientific conference they have what they call an instrument exhibition, and the instrument companies, publishers and all sorts of energies associated with the discipline; they have a big exhibition,” Iles says.
Tables had been setup in the center of the room. SLCC’s own mathematics department had a table at the symposium, with a cypher on display for students to try.
“One of the big subjects within math is cryptology, so how coding is done and braking codes,” explains SLCC math instructor John Schweitzer. The cypher involved a paper with a series of seemingly random letters, using a special decoder set to the right position, the code can be deciphered.
Representatives from the School of Science at the University of Utah were at the next table, and at another table was information for SLCC’s tutoring program.
Across campus in the Science and Industry Building atrium, live talks and presentations were being given throughout the day. One keynote speaker was Dr. Florian Solzbacher, the Director of the Utah Nanotechnology Institute.
SLCC students also gave oral presentations in the atrium. Presentation topics included a study on the movement of billiard balls; the ITER Tokamak Facility, a nuclear fusion power plant being built in France; and the possibility of flying cars over the next few decades.
These talks and presentations were, for SLCC students, serving a larger purpose.
“What we do here at Salt Lake Community College is give students the opportunity to learn the fundamentals,” Iles said. “The other aspect of this day is that we’re interested in developing the written and oral communication skills of all of the students. Particularly scientists, because at times scientists get criticized for being inarticulate.”
Later that evening, in the Oak Room of the Student Center, SLCC President Dr. Deneece Huftalin was on hand to deliver opening remarks and give out awards to those that presented.
For any student who missed this year’s symposium, another is already planned for next year.