Great Lakes careers

HOUGHTON – Groups of high school students got a hands-on look at careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics on Thursday during the Water Festival at Michigan Tech University’s Great Lakes Research Center. Students engaged in sessions focused on various fields related to the Great Lakes.

“We are trying to show them how diverse (the career options) are. Some may say ‘I don’t want to be a scientist and have to go out in a boat and collect samples,’ but there are many other ways they can do it,” said Joan Chadde, education program coordinator at Michigan Tech. “Hopefully that’s part of what their take-away is.”

Students from L’Anse, Chassell, Horizons, Jeffers, Ironwood and Lake Linden-Hubbell high schools participated. This is the second year of the program. Last year students from grades 4 through 8 attended. The plan, Chadde said, is to switch every other year between younger and high school students.

Sessions included presentations on research, cleaning wastewater, building water towers and even social media and technology. Presenters included Michigan Tech faculty and students, community members and even a group of high school students presenting their work on Remotely Operated Vehicles to their peers. The students from the Marine Robotics class at Dollar Bay High School demonstrated how the ROVs allow users to see what is underwater.

“(The ROVs) go to Isle Royale during the summer so we just recently got them back,” said Meagan Kangas, a junior at Dollar Bay who is a member of the class. “They want to check the boats and docks for zebra mussels to make sure they’re not spreading but here we’re just putting them in to see what’s under there.”

The students operated the vehicles with a remote control and were able to see images gathered on each vehicle’s camera on a screen.

“They seem to enjoy driving them in the lake,” added Gavin Collette, a Dollar Bay sophomore in the class.