STEP students learn about college and careers at SUNY Morrisville

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MORRISVILLE, N.Y. — Elijah Kozubal digs science. The 13-year-old ninth grader wants to be a marine biologist someday. He’s learning more about various careers in science and technology during a three-week summer Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) at SUNY Morrisville through July 25. 

Fourteen students in grades seven through nine, from the LaFayette School District, are participating in the program, which features lectures, films and science experiments with SUNY Morrisville faculty. 

“They are very excited about what they are doing,” said Christine Kane, teaching assistant at LaFayette Big Picture School. “We are so fortunate to have professors who want to show them all about science and technology. And it is good for them to see college life firsthand.”

Chad Jaconski, assistant professor of chemistry, and Elisa Livengood, assistant professor of aquaculture & renewable resources, are among SUNY Morrisville faculty enthusiastically feeding into students’ desire to learn more about science and technology.

Jaconski gave students a lesson in air pressure making cartesian divers — an experiment which involved creating a tiny submarine that floats inside a water bottle. 

“Once they see it actually works and they know they did it, it gets them to buy into the science behind it,” Jaconski said.  

Each week, Morrisville professors focus on different science topics. Jaconski also plans to make ice cream, solar ovens and teach students the science behind the different colors of fireworks.   

“All of this is really cool,” Kozubal said. “I like learning new things.”

Livengood led an ocean acidification experiment with participants and conducted a program where they examined aquatic invertebrates from the college’s pond.  

Throughout the three-week program, students made their own career boards, which they filled with pictures and descriptions of what they will need to attain their career goals.

Kozubal, whose board was decorated with dolphins, ocean waves and a marine boat, knows he needs a college education and a diving license to reach his. His career board also included possible salaries and qualifications necessary to get him a job in the field.