Athens, Ga. – Nearly 700 ninth-grade biology students in the Clarke County School District will visit the University of Georgia campus on Feb. 24 and March 3 for a field trip that will introduce them to biological programs through hands-on research demonstrations with faculty and students in laboratories across campus.

On Feb. 24, Provost Pamela Whitten and Clarke County School District Superintendent Philip D. Lanoue will kick off this trip with a welcome to nearly 300 ninth-graders from Clarke Central High School in the UGA Chapel.

This trip is part of Experience UGA, a new partnership between UGA and the Clarke County School District, which aims to bring every Clarke County student to UGA’s campus for an annual field trip and opportunity to experience learning on a college campus, explore college options and interact with UGA students.

The ninth-grade field trip will help Clarke County students connect the biology curriculum to research in areas including health care, energy and food resources. Students will participate in hands-on demonstrations and visit 22 research labs and facilities across campus. The field trip is being led by Anna Karls, associate professor of microbiology, and Mark Farmer, professor and director of the division of Biological Sciences. Funding for this trip is being provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the dean’s office in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

As part of this trip, UGA students in a bacterial pathogenesis service-learning course taught by Karls have designed and will lead experiments for ninth-graders to identify unknown bacteria, similar to research conducted in a clinical laboratory. Faculty and graduate students will share their research goals and pathways to science careers, while demonstrating state of the art research methods.

“Through Experience UGA, ninth-graders in the Clarke County School District will see the opportunities that studying biological sciences in college could provide and gain insight into how to prepare for college,” said Karls. “By teaching and mentoring the ninth-graders during their visit, our undergraduate and graduate students will also expand their own understanding of biological concepts and gain a connection to the community.”

The planned schedule for Feb. 24 and March 3 is:

· 9:15 a.m. Buses arrive on Jackson Street

· 9:30 a.m. UGA Chapel Assembly:

– (Feb. 24 only) UGA Provost Pamela Whitten and Clarke County School District Superintendent Philip D. Lanoue address students

– Panel of UGA students discuss their research experiences at UGA as part of the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities

– “Gearing up for college” presentation by UGA Admissions

· 10:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

– UGA undergraduate and graduate students guide ninth-graders in small groups to 22 biological research demonstrations by UGA faculty and students at different venues on the main campus and Health Sciences campus.

– Each group of ninth-graders will participate in two 45-minute demonstrations at different research venues and will have lunch at one of the venues with UGA students. Lunches for UGA volunteers will be provided by Chick-fil-A and Coca-Cola.

· 1:30 p.m. Depart campus

For its inaugural year, Experience UGA will host nearly 5,000 Clarke County students from seven different grade levels for field trips sponsored by a variety of academic departments and public service units across campus. Experience UGA is a partnership between the UGA Office of Service-Learning, College of Education’s Office of School Engagement and the Clarke County School District.

UGA Office of Service-Learning
In service-learning courses, students participate in service activities that address community issues in order to enhance academic learning and teach civic responsibility. The UGA Office of Service-Learning supports the development of academic service-learning and community engagement initiatives designed to enhance students’ civic and academic learning, promote engaged research that is responsive to community needs, and contribute to the public good through mutually beneficial community-university partnerships. The office is jointly supported by the Offices of the Vice President for Instruction and the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. For more information, see www.servicelearning.uga.edu.

UGA College of Education’s Office of School Engagement
The Office of School Engagement at the University of Georgia serves as a bridge between the worlds of theory and practice in P-16 public education to improve the educational experiences of students and the professional lives of educators. For more information, see www.coe.uga.edu/ose.