The SUNY Plattsburgh Shine On! program is typically an overnight confidence and skill-building event for girls in grades 3-5. The pandemic cancelled the event in 2020 and organizers planned a virtual event in 2021, that was built around a downlink with the International Space Station the program was awarded from NASA. The conference was organized with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) theme with sessions geared toward students in kindergarten to grade 2; grade 3 to grade 5; and grade 6 to grade 8. The event attracted more than 6500 students from across New York State.
Miner Institute was pleased to be able to participate in this great program. We presented two sessions. The first session was for students in grades 6-8 and looked at respiration and how with increased exercise, the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled increases. This was illustrated by Research Technician Mark Haney (dressed in a cow suit) who exercised for three one-minute intervals with a 10 second rest afterward and then exhaled through a straw into a bromothymol blue solution that changed color when the pH changed, with more carbon dioxide. As Mark got more winded from exercise, the time it took to change the color of the solution decreased, and the amount of carbon dioxide he exhaled increased.
Our second session was presented to students in grades 3-5 and offered a prerecorded tour around Miner Institute with short interviews with staff about what they do. Graduate Student Cari Reynolds was the videographer, director, and editor of the video and she did a phenomenal job! (See video below) Cari then joined Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator Rachel Dutil for a live portion where Cari showed students some of the unusual things that we feed to dairy cows such as citrus pulp, cotton seed, and almond hulls. We also told the students a little bit about William Miner and how Miner Institute came to be.
Big kudos goes out to Colleen Lemza from SUNY Plattsburgh and her extraordinary team of student organizers who were able to put together such a great program. We were honored to be a part of it and hope there are opportunities for future such collaborations.