Vol State Science Students to do Water Research

Submitted on August 17, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Your drinking water comes from all sorts of sources, including hundreds of small streams and creeks. The water quality of those streams is important for determining the overall health of the water system. Students at Volunteer State Community College are contributing to the study of that water quality as part of a new research program at the college called REV. It stands for Research Experiences at Vol State. Hundreds of students from nine different classes this fall will be taking samples, charting measurements and compiling the information in a database. That database will help environmental engineers determine area water quality.

"Research is the best teacher," said Parris Powers, associate professor of Chemistry. "It allows students to think critically and problem solve with real world applications."

"The hands-on work puts everything we learn in the classroom in perspective," said student Amber Behles of Hendersonville. "This also prepares you to do graduate-level science research."

The classes cover a wide variety of science fields including biology, microbiology, chemistry, environmental science and geology. The research is built into the classes and over the course of the program thousands of students will take part. The Vol State research is one piece of a nationwide grant program funded by the National Science Foundation. The college is one of 26 community colleges in the nation to participate in the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative.

"The National Science Foundation has been funding initiatives which involve students in research activities earlier in their college experience rather than postponing those experiences to the senior year and or graduate school," said Nancy Morris, Math and Science dean. "Research activities provide experiences which support the development of necessary skill sets such as observation, problem solving, and team work, which are critical to success in the sciences. The whole point is to involve students sooner in the fun stuff, which greatly increases the likelihood that they will stick it out through the tough stuff."

"It's nice to go outside. You can actually see how science works out here," said student Elizabeth Goldtrap of Joelton."

For more information about Math and Science classes at Vol State visit



Pictured: Vol State students (left to right) Amber Behles, Elizabeth Goldtrap and Dillon Pauley analyze a water sample.

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