Updated 10/04/2012 05:22 PM
Program introduces students to nanotech at an early age
Many of the careers in the nanotech industry requires years of training and education. It's because of that reason that industry professionals are urging youngsters to get started at an early age. YNN's Matt Hunter reports from Malta.
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MALTA, N.Y. – Nanotechnology isn't exactly something you'd expect to find on the standard fifth grade syllabus, but students got a crash course Thursday at HVCC's Tec-Smart campus in Malta.
"We're learning this because it's science and we love science and it's fun to do it," said Johanna Campbell, a fifth grader at Pine Hills Elementary School.
Organized by the Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC), the nanotech exploration event gives area students and their teachers hands-on experience with nanotech materials, as well as teaches them about their real world applications. They then take the materials back to their schools and advance their learning in the classroom.
"The most important thing is to let them know it exists,” NEATEC program assistant Erin Crimmel said. “The word ‘nanotechnology’ to most children is something they have no comprehension of."
The students range between third and fifth grades. The hope is that an early start will trigger an interest in science and engineering, perhaps steering them toward a career in the growing local industry.
"Getting them that knowledge at this age opens their minds to different possibilities," Crimmel said.
It's no secret the materials used in nanotech are often costly. In order to make sure local schools don't have to dip into their already strained budgets, NEATEC lends the materials to the schools free of charge.
The students certainly have more than enough time to make up their minds about a career, but it seems many already have their eyes set a future in science.
"I think it's pretty cool,” Sharah Scott said. “I think I want to be a scientist just to know what it means."
"I think science is really cool and when I grow up, maybe I want to be a science teacher because it's fun and you get to do experiments and some experiments are really cool," Atheer Abdulla said.
For more information on NEATEC, head to www.neatec.org .