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High School Day exposes students to life as Mizzou engineers

A man injects fluid into a plastic plate with a syringe.

Chemical engineering senior Phong Nguyen demonstrated the Stokes Flow activity on High School Day. Photos by Ryan Owens.

If you want to learn what it’s like to be an engineer, and more specifically, a Mizzou engineering student, there’s no better way than seeing for yourself.

Dozens of students descended upon Lafferre Hall on March 11 for High School Day, hosted by Mizzou Engineering Student Council (MESC). The event gives high school students from around the state an up-close-and-personal look at life inside Mizzou Engineering in a way few tours can match.

“What we do is recruit and have students apply from all across the state and some beyond the state to come to this event, where we lead them through departmental and organizational events to show them what engineering is like and what engineering’s like at Mizzou specifically,” MESC High School Day chair Riley Short said.

A snowy Saturday in Columbia was jam-packed with events, beginning with remarks from MU Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa and a Q&A panel with current MU Engineering students. There were recreational activities at the MizzouRec and a scavenger hunt — geared to introduce high schoolers to the various Engineering student organizations — interspersed between hands-on activities sponsored by each College of Engineering department.

Student sit at desks in classrooms.

Students participated in a myriad of educational events and workshops during High School Day on March 11.

In addition to the various activities, parents were given a tour and provided with in-depth information about Mizzou Engineering. Students, meanwhile, also had the opportunity to interact with current Engineering students and several faculty members to get a real hands-on feel for life as a Mizzou student.

Carson Taylor, a freshman from Parkway West High School near St. Louis, said what appealed most to him was the chance to interact with faculty and students from a variety of disciplines. His family has deep ties to the field of engineering, and he’s sure he wants to go into the field himself. He said he’s just not sure which avenue appeals to him most.

“I think the key words in the advertisement were ‘an hour for each subject,’” Taylor said. “That’s perfect. That’s what I’m looking for.”

A lot of work goes into putting an event like this on, and even in the middle of a bevy of Engineers’ Week events, MESC put forth a terrific amount of time and effort to ensure High School Day was a great success.

“We have to get all the different student orgs to help out with department activities and the meet and great,” Short said. “We have to talk to professors that come in, reserve space, reserve the rec center, get the food. So it takes an extensive amount of time and planning, but we absolutely love it. It’s a really fun event.”

Lauren Hyde, a senior from Mid Buchanan High School in Faucett, Mo., thought so, too. Hyde is the daughter of Mizzou Engineering alums Clinton (BS ME ’93) and Lori (BS IE ’92) Hyde, and she said her choice of schools boiled down to two institutions, including Mizzou.

“I really enjoyed interacting with not only the student ambassadors here, but the other people who came,” she said. “I feel like it’s a home already.”