Blackburn College Science Day - Blackburn student Jessica Muckinsturm, a junior biology major from Belleville, IL, helps give an up-close experience with a snake in Blackburn College's vivarium - Becky Bishop/Blackburn College

CARLINVILLE - This spring marked the 35th anniversary of one of Blackburn College's most beloved events, Science Day. Over 200 junior and senior students from more than a dozen regional schools showcased their science knowledge with the hope of winning individual Blackburn scholarships. Each school also competed as a group to earn recognition and cash prizes in chemistry, biology, physics, and psychology. Blackburn awarded $12,000 to students and schools during the event.

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High school students had the opportunity to experience college-level psychology, computer science, biology, and chemistry courses and participate in breakout demonstrations. Blackburn faculty members facilitated demonstrations, sharing the fun side of science. Also available was a photo booth facilitated by the College’s Career Services department, where participants could learn about different careers in science fields and take photos with props in those areas of study.

Throughout the day, the professors and Blackburn students working the event observed each student's aptitude and participation. Blackburn students also graded exams and announced the top-scoring students and schools.

Lexi Mosby, a junior biology major at Blackburn from Carlinville, Illinois, said, "Given that this was our 35th Annual Science Day, it took many months to plan an event of this magnitude. We appreciate all of the help we got from our volunteers and all the science department student workers. I want to give a special thank you to the biology department workers who helped make this event a success. The high school students and teachers got a lot out of this event and are excited to attend again next year.”

She continued, “Our overall goal for Science Day is to get students interested in the field of science and we were able to achieve that thanks to the help of our Blackburn community."

In addition to recognizing individual student performance with Blackburn scholarships, schools compete as groups in four scientific disciplines. The top-performing schools were:

Top Schools - Biology

1st - Jacksonville High School

2nd - Riverton High School

3rd - Carlinville High School

Top Schools - Chemistry

1st - Pleasant Plains High School

2nd - Jacksonville High School

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3rd - Gillespie High School

Top Schools - Physics

1st - Pleasant Plains High School

2nd - Carlinville High School

3rd - Roxana High School

Top Schools - Psychology

1st - Pleasant Plains High School

2nd - Roxana High School

3rd - Pana High School

Logan Ullrich, a senior environmental biology major at Blackburn from Diamond, Illinois, stated, "Science Day is a great opportunity for high school students to experience the different facets of science, which can range from the critters outdoors to the structure and function of the brain, and the programming that goes into a computer. Not only does the event pose a great opportunity for the high schoolers, but Science Day is also a great opportunity for Blackburn students to participate in and experience what it is like to host a large-scale event. I wanted to thank all the volunteers and the student workers for helping with the event setup. Without their help, the event would not have gone as smoothly as it did. Thank you all!"

“Science Day is my favorite event of the year,” said Dr. Samantha Kahl, Professor of Ecology & Biology and Blackburn graduate. “This was our 35th Annual event at Blackburn College - and that is something to be celebrated. Our student workers -- from all over campus, not just Academics workers -- were amazing and they worked their tails off to make this event happen. Student Science Day Coordinators Logan Ullrich and Lexi Mosby ensured everything ran smoothly. This event is huge for our student workers because they gain skills in planning and executing a large event while also spreading their love of science. I love watching student participants have fun doing scientific demonstrations, including everything from Screaming Gummy Bears and Exploding Vegetables to Optical Illusions and Gaming! We try to have something for everyone at this event and keep building students' passion for science. Thanks to the 12 different regional schools for participating this year - we hope to see them all return for next year's Science Day event.”

About Blackburn College

Founded in 1837, Blackburn College is a four-year, Presbyterian-related, co-educational liberal arts college located in Carlinville, IL. One of only ten federally recognized work colleges, Blackburn is the only program in the nation that is fully managed by students. Balancing academic rigor and experiential learning, each student at Blackburn gains tangible experience and develops critical skills by contributing to their community, all while building a resume and earning their degree. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Blackburn College as one of the best colleges in the Midwest region for 2024. Blackburn also earned a top-ten ranking for social mobility. Blackburn has been listed as a top performer for social mobility each year the list has been published. The Washington Monthly ranked Blackburn first in Illinois for performance by students receiving Pell Grants in 2022 and 2023. The publication has twice ranked Blackburn as the best baccalaureate college in Illinois.

Blackburn College Science Day - Molly Koskey, a recent biology graduate from Springfield, IL watches as students particpate in a college level demonstration - Becky Bishop/Blackburn College

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