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CSU Stanislaus explores science with community youth
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Turlock Christian 6th grader Clayton Giambelluca pours strawberry DNA extract into a vile during CSU Stanislaus' Science Saturday event. - photo by JAYDEEP BHATIA / The Journal


WHAT: Free three hour science session where elementary and high school students are invited to learn about science in a fun and interactive way

WHEN: Oct. 19

WHERE: Naraghi Hall of Science at CSU Stanislaus

RESERVATIONS: Call 667-331 to reserve a spot in the next session

Instead of spending his Saturday morning watching cartoons, Turlock Christian sixth grader Clayton Giambelluca decided to do something else with his weekend.

He decided to extract DNA.

Giambelluca partook in his scientific endeavors at Science Saturday, an event hosted on the campus of California State University, Stanislaus. The event is a monthly three hour science session where elementary and high school students are invited to learn about science in a fun and interactive way.

CSU Stanislaus Biology Department Chair Mark Grobner led Saturday’s scientific expedition titled “The Secret Life of Cells,” as students participated in activities like extracting strawberry DNA, making their own cell structures and examining pond water under a microscope. Grobner said the purpose of the event was to promote science amongst a younger audience.

“The whole purpose is to get kids excited about science,” said Grobner. “It also gives us a chance for the community to see what we have to offer as a school.”

In 2011, Grobner and the rest of the university science department hosted their first ever community orientated event, Science Day.  Although Grobner and the rest of the event organizers expected a modest turnout, the event turned out to be a hit, drawing in over 2,000 community members. Out of the monumental success of Science Day came the idea of hosting smaller offshoots of the event's premise every Saturday, five times a semester.

Jesus Garcia, a CSU Stanislaus senior who also serves as president of the campus' Biology Student Association, said he enjoyed being able teach students who seemed genuinely interested in their projects.

“It’s fun because we get to see all kinds of different students,” said Garcia. “They seem genuinely excited about it.”

As for the 24 young scientists who attended Saturday's event, they too seemed to enjoy their temporary gig as junior scientists.

“It’s great,” said Giambelluca. “I really like that we’re actually getting to see genetic material and take it home.”

The next Science Saturday will be held on Oct. 19 at the Naraghi Hall of Science at CSU Stanislaus. For reservations, call 667-331.