INDIANAPOLIS--A bright smile. A raised hand. A nod that says “this is cool.” These gestures are just some of the body language seen by Dow AgroSciences’ Science Ambassadors as they celebrate the milestone of reaching 500,000 people throughout Central Indiana with science outreach over the last five years. On Friday, Feb. 26, employees at Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), will host a student event when the “half a million” designation will be reached.
Mya Lang-Martinez, a fourth-grade student at Maplewood Elementary of the Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Wayne Township, has the distinction of being person number 500,000 to experience the company’s outreach to increase enthusiasm about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Lang-Martinez is taking part in the “Cool Green Seed Festival” where fourth-grade students from 11 of MSD of Wayne Township’s schools come to Dow AgroSciences to share results from their science experiments focused on growing plants from seeds. As part of the event, students interact with company scientists to discuss how light, water, and other factors impact a plant’s ability to grow and develop. They also participate in hands-on activities and learn more about what it means to have a career related to science in agriculture.
“We started growing our plants in January, and I was most excited about the pollination part, and a little nervous too as I didn’t want to hurt the plant. I was amazed how fast it grew!” said Lang-Martinez. This aspiring scientist is grasping key parts of scientific method as she pointed out, “you have to have data to keep track of everything at the end.”
This hands-on, interactive event illustrates the engaging approach of the more than 400 Dow AgroSciences employees who volunteer their time as Science Ambassadors, bringing STEM topics to life for the next generation.
“Making science fun and relevant for students and their families is what energizes our Science Ambassadors to be out in the community,” says Ronda Hamm, patent liaison and co-chair of the Science Ambassadors, Dow AgroSciences. “We want students to walk away intrigued about what their future could look like if they pursued a STEM-related career.”
The Science Ambassadors share learning opportunities with a variety of groups in many different venues ranging from school science nights to the Indiana State Fair. Along with exploring common STEM themes like chemistry, biology, and engineering, the activities designed by the Science Ambassadors also include agricultural topics such as entomology, genetics, plant science, and nutrition. Relating agricultural sciences to everyday life is important for a state like Indiana, where recently announced1 statistics show Life Sciences contribute $62 billion to the state’s economy. Indiana is the second largest exporter of life sciences products in the U.S. with $9.9 billion worth of products, representing nearly one-third of Indiana’s total exports.
“There’s nothing more personal than the food we eat, so helping students connect the food on their dinner plates with the technology farmers use to grow it provides a very tangible example of how STEM touches daily life,” said Amber Maynard, a coaching/project leader and co-chair of Science Ambassadors, Dow AgroSciences. Maynard is one of many employees from non-scientific functions within the company who have joined the volunteer effort to show the variety of career paths related to science and technology.
“Children learn science best when they are actively engaged in discovery. The Seed Festival provides students with opportunities to meet the scientists at Dow AgroSciences. Our goal is to use science to make the world a better place,” said Rick Crosslin, Scientist in Residence, MSD of Wayne Township. “Our students have discovered important facts about the growth and development of plants. Students have harvested new seeds and a deeper understanding of science along the way.”
More information about Dow AgroSciences and its science outreach can be found here: http://www.dowagro.com/en-us/innovation/science-ambassadors.
About Dow AgroSciences
Dow AgroSciences discovers, develops, and brings to market crop protection and plant biotechnology solutions for the growing world. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, Dow AgroSciences is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company and had annual global sales of $6.4 billion in 2015. Learn more at www.dowagro.com. Follow Dow AgroSciences on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
1Data compiled by the Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and BioCrossroads.