Wooster’s X-ray Lab Hosts Expanding Your Horizons

April 12th, 2014

WOOSTER, OH — What a beautiful Saturday for science!!  Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) hit Scovel Hall again this year, and area middle school girls were able to select “Minerals in My Jewelry” as one of the fun science sessions held around campus.  Meagen Pollock, who oversees Wooster’s X-ray Lab, organized and taught “Minerals in My Jewelry”, with assistance from others in the department:  Sarah Bender (’15), Olivia Brown (’15), Elisabeth Gresh (’15), Kaitlin Starr (’16), and Shelley Judge.  The goal of the session was to analyze common jewelry beads using Geology’s XRD in order to determine the correct mineral identification for the beads.  EYH participants then were able to compare the XRD results to actual mineral specimens from the department’s collections.  Then, they made bracelets from the beads that they identified with the XRD.

1-585EYH participants meticulously prepared jewelry bead powders for the Rigaku MiniFlex II X-ray diffractometer, or XRD.

2-585Olivia Brown (’15) oversees one group preparing their sample for the XRD.

3-585Meagen Pollock points to the resultant XRD pattern and mineral identification for a team of students.

4-585Expanding Your Horizon students were able to compare the XRD results to their jewelry beds and to hand-sample mineral specimens.  Here, the group is focused on the purple specimen of amethyst (quartz), which was one of the jewelry beads in the collection.

5-585Sarah Bender (left; ’15) and Kaitlin Starr (right; ’16) are ready to take their group’s sample to the XRD for analysis.  The students, with instruction from Meagen Pollock, actually ran the computer software that controlled and monitored the XRD.

6-585Elisabeth Gresh (right; ’15) works with another group, who is also preparing a sample.  In the background, Provost Carolyn Newton, who visited “Minerals in My Jewelry”, watches the various groups in the room.  After a few minutes of watching the students in action, Provost Newton jumped right in and participated in the activity.

8-585Toward the end of the exercise, Meagen Pollock always made sure that the students could identify all of their jewelry beads in their bracelets.  In the background, you can see that President Grant Cornwell and Peg Cornwell have just popped in for a visit.

Those of us in the department who participated in the Expanding Your Horizons sessions had a very fun day working with the middle school students interested in science, and we look forward to participating again next year!!

3 Responses to “Wooster’s X-ray Lab Hosts Expanding Your Horizons”

  1. Seafloorscotton 13 Apr 2014 at 9:12 am

    This is wonderful and what a learning experience! I hope my 9 yr old daughter has the chance at something like this someday.

  2. Mark Wilsonon 13 Apr 2014 at 11:35 am

    Yay Wooster Geologists! Outstanding service. You planted many seeds this weekend.

  3. Stephanie Jarvison 13 Apr 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Such a great program!!! Nicely done (as always)! 🙂 Also, I really like those green shirts…

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