Dressing for Scientific Success – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Dressing for Scientific Success

At Geneva’s North Street Elementary School, the young members of the local 4H Club recently gathered in excitement to show off the brand new Fisher Scientific laboratory aprons recently donated by the Bank of the Finger Lakes as part of the Geneva 2020 initiative.

Bank of the Finger Lakes team members Mike Briggs, USNY president and CEO, and Nancy Murray, bank administration officer, joined the young students at the recent 4H meeting, where the elementary-aged children created cinnamon ornaments just in time for the holidays. Wearing the newly purchased scientific aprons, the elementary school students got straight to work on the messy task – emerging clean thanks to the generosity of the bank.

“We picked this project because we wanted to contribute something that would not only be fun, but useful and enjoyable,” says Murray, who, along with Briggs, was a member of 4H as a child.

In addition to these more celebratory uses, older elementary school students will use the aprons during biology laboratories, providing protection, as well as a deeper sense of the authenticity and pride in their work. Briggs and Murray believe that dressing for science is key to a constructive attitude, and ultimately to success in in the sciences, a subject that can prove difficult for many students.

Junior reporters Emily and Elaine were on-hand to speak with Briggs and Murray as well, taken careful notes and snapping photographs to document the occasion. The fifth graders were documenting the gathering for an upcoming school newsletter that will feature the work of the Geneva 2020 initiative and the growing 4H Club.

During their afterschool gatherings, students in the 4H Club have the chance to play games, make new friends, make crafts, and bake – monkey bread and banana bread, a favorite among many of the club’s members. For Thanksgiving, the young students created a giant turkey, which they proudly hung in the cafeteria, and even milled apples to create applesauce and apple butter, which served as an afterschool snack.

It is supporting efforts such as these important extracurricular activities, which fosters a sense of belonging and pride in a student, contributing to his or her long-term success.

“Perception is sometimes a reality,” says Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning Katie Flowers. “If young students perceive themselves as scientists, as members of the scientific community, it is an excellent way to focus on career and promote college literacy, which is the main goal of the Geneva 2020 initiative.”

To learn more about Geneva 2020, visit the initiative’s website at http://www.hws.edu/about/geneva_2020.aspx.

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