NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Avenues of Scientific Discovery

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I ❤ Science

The objective of Avenues of Scientific Discovery is to show that science is fun and interesting.  We want to make science approachable for high school students, which might guide them into a field of study they would not have otherwise known about or been interested in. More important, showcasing different scientific fields of study allows high school students to experience what science is all about in postsecondary education and the real world.

Avenues of Scientific Discovery is a graduate student run event open to local high school students and the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo community. Reserve a dedicated time slot for your students to visit these booths. Or stop by and check out the many different booths set up while you move at your own pace to investigate what these life-science fields are all about. Participate in the activities, pose questions to the graduate students, or just come to witness science in action. 

Sessions are open to area public and private schools. 



2019 Best of Show Booths

Students who attended the 2019 Avenues of Scientific Discovery event voted for the booth they felt had the best display. The winners for 2019 are pictured below.

Plant Science First Place Booth leaders

Winners of the 1st place booth. Plant science students. 

Levi Schlosser - Public Health 2nd place booth winner

Winner of the 2nd place booth. Levi Schlosser, public health student. 

Physics student winners of 2nd place booth

Winner of the 2nd place booth. Physics students.



This is a general schedule for the event. School Districts bringing large groups of students will be assigned a time block that may vary slightly from this schedule.


8:30 - 9:15 a.m. – Check-in and Conference Materials at the Memorial Union

9:20 a.m. – Welcome

10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Workshops




This Avenues of Scientific Discovery conference will be a day filled with hands-on workshops to introduce you to different careers in the life sciences. We encourage you to connect with as many people as possible at this conference. There will be many opportunities to meet students from NDSU who share your interest in these careers.  We also encourage you to get to know the graduate students in the workshops you really enjoyed, they are a wealth of knowledge about the subject. Trust us, these graduate students want to know that you are interested in their topic and/or field of study!

#AOSD - Share the excitement for what you learned in each session using #aosd on your social media accounts.


What to Wear:

You will be walking around the Memorial Union. Due to the scientific experiments that will be conducted close toe shoes and long pants are required.  Dress for comfort but ensure that you do not have excessively loose clothing. If you have long hair, please bring a hair tie to ensure your hair does not get in the way of the experiments. These are hands-on workshops, so please wear clothing you would wear for working on projects. The Avenues of Scientific Discovery event will supply lab coats, goggles, and other safety equipment as needed.


Special Accommodations:

Individuals who need special accommodations are encouraged to notify Avenues of Scientific Discovery in advance of this program. NDSU has a Disability Services Office that can assist in finding resources for necessary accommodations. 

Also, please be sure to let us know if you have any severe allergies that require special accommodations.




The registration deadline is February 7, 2019.  


Register Now (PDF) >>


A registration form signed by the student's parent must be received by NDSU before the event. Without this signed release form, students may not be allowed to participate. Return the signed and completed form to your school counselor who will send all completed forms to:

NDSU Office of Teaching & Learning | Distance & Continuing Education
Attn: Avenues of Scientific Discovery
Dept. 2020, P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050




Explore hands-on booths in the life sciences. Speak with graduate students who have studied in these sciences. Get a feel for how fun science can be.  The following workshops were offered at the 2018 Avenues of Scientific Discovery event. Workshops for 2019 will be updated in January as they are approved.

Offer a Workshop for 2019 >>
Workshop proposals for 2019 are due in mid-January.


  1. Evolution Works With What It's Got 
    Offered by: Annaka Clement
    Category: Biology and Paleontology
    We will show evidence of evolution through modern and fossil examples! Visual and hands-on demonstrations will be conducted to show you: 1) How paleontologists and modern biologists use modern similarities among living organisms to infer their evolutionary history, and 2) How fossil evidence is used to support these hypotheses and find new connections.
    ~ This booth is a natural selection! ~
  2. Physics
    Offered by: Wyatt Davis (Team lead - pictured), Brian Farlow, Tim Twohig, Reza Parsa, Alistair McInerny, Jamie Froberg, Brianna Santangelo, and Deyan Mihaylov.
    Category: Physics
    This booth won 3rd place in the Best Booth voting of participants at the 2018 event.
    We will display how interesting physics can be through an assortment of interactive exhibits! You will see demonstrations on: 1) Making electric sparks with a Van de Graaff generator and 2) Freezing and shattering vegetables with liquid nitrogen. There might even be some surprise physics displays!
    ~ This booth is a heart-shattering event that can make sparks fly! ~
  3. DNA Isolation and Thermochromism
    Offered by: Krystal Grieger
    Category: Biology
    We will show you how to extract DNA and make color-changing valentines! You will be able to extract DNA from strawberries and then create a Valentine’s Day card using thermochromic (temperature sensitive - color changing) paper.
    ~ There is no DNA-ing that this booth will warm your heart! ~
  4. Know Your Blood Glucose
    Offered by: Shrinidh Joshi
    Category: Health Professions
    We will explore the intricate science of researching diabetes! We will have demonstrations on what diabetes is and how the disease is measured through blood glucose levels. You will learn how to identify the signs of diabetes, recognize physical complications associated with the disease, and reduce the likelihood of late-onset diabetes.
    ~ The booth shows that monitoring your health is true love! ~ 
  5. Unraveling the Mystery of Spider Silk
    Offered by: Pranothi Mulinti
    Category: Pharmaceutical Sciences
    We will use spider silk for biomedical applications! We will use 3-D printers to print 3-D protein structures, and have a computer presentation on spinning spider silk, which will show how silk is extracted from spiders. There will also be a display of rat bone specimens and, perhaps, a live Tarantula (in a cage)! ~ This booth will weave a web of scientific love! ~
  6. Bees and Butterflies of North Dakota
    Offered by: Chyna Pei
    Category: Biology
    Pollinators are one of the hottest topics in ecological sciences! You will learn to identify butterflies and about their special relationships with flowers. Using dichotomous keys, you will also have hands-on experience identifying bees. Come get an inside look at the exciting careers of pollinator scientists!
    ~ The booth will ‘bee’ a great way to share the love of insects!
  7. Crop Domestication and Drones in Agriculture
    Offered by: Amanda Peters
    Category: Plant Science
    We will explain how crop species, such as corn, wheat, and potatoes, have changed over thousands of years as a result of selection and breeding methods! We will have some plant samples, along with a hands-on threshing demonstration for students to see how wheat changed from non-free-threshing to free-threshing. We will also describe how the current breeding technologies will change the foods we eat to manage global population increases.
    ~ This booth shows how to cultivate the sweetest change! ~
  8. Exploring the World of Microbes
    Offered by: Morgan Petersen
    Category: Microbiology
    We will explore the world of microbes! You will get the chance to view a number of different microbial species from pond water using microscopes and observe how these organisms move and interact within their environment. You choose a species to place within the same community to observe the differences in their interactions. ~ This booth demonstrates microscopic supportive relationships! ~
  9. Exploring the Concepts of Topography in Augmented Reality
    Offered by: Zachary Phillips (Pictured)
    Category: Hydrology
    This booth won 1st place in the Best Booth voting of participants at the 2018 event.
    We will use an augmented reality sand table to teach the concepts of topography, topographic maps, and basic hydrology! You will create your own topographies and digital rainfall! During this hands-on activity, pop-up questions will get you thinking about the effects of topography on rainfall-runoff and the benefits of using technology in scientific teaching and research.
    ~ This booth showers the love of science across a virtual landscape! ~
  10. Soil Science/Soil Fungi
    Offered by: Elizabeth Sternhagen
    Category: Soil Science
    We will examine the magical world of soil! We will have demonstrations on soil horizons and below ground fungi.
    ~ This booth shows that Soil Scientists know all of the ‘dirt’ about Valentine’s Day! ~
  11. Cryptography: Exploring the World of Secure Communication
    Offered by: Ali Rahim Taleqani
    Category: Cryptography
    We will introduce you to cryptography techniques! We will use notable examples of encryption in history, which will highlight the path that has led to the use of calculation machines for code-making and code-breaking. ~ This booth helps decipher the science of communication! ~ 
  12. Public Health Outbreak Investigation
    Offered by: Andee Weisbeck (Team lead), Weston Clark (pictured), Xiaozheng (Jessica) Yang, and Christina Nelson.
    Category: Public Health
    This booth won 2nd place in the Best Booth voting of participants at the 2018 event.
    We will demonstrate how diseases and bacteria can spread in an outbreak! We will show how physical distance affects the spread of germs. You will learn the importance of public health and how they work to keep people healthy.
    ~ This booth demonstrates that you should spread love, not germs! ~




Each year the Avenues of Scientific Discovery conference relies on sponsors, students, faculty, staff, and community volunteers to make this event a success. You are invited to volunteer as a workshop leader, event sponsor, or event assistant.


Event Assistants

Event assistant volunteer opportunities include: guiding participants to their workshops in the Memorial Union Ballroom, giving directions to students between sessions, guiding bus drivers to their parking space, assisting with conference check-in, serving as workshop room attendants, directing bus and van traffic in lining up to pick up the girls, and helping resolve miscellaneous event related issues.


Become an Event Assistant >>


Workshop Leaders

You are invited to participate as a workshop leader in the Annual Avenues of Scientific Discovery Conference. Workshop proposals are accepted until January 15.

The theme of this annual event is "I ❤ Science". 

Workshop leaders are usually graduate students in science-related field of study who donate their time to teach a workshop. Workshop leaders may be individual graduate students or they may consist of a group of individuals from Graduate Student Associations within each college.  

This event is an excellent way for graduate students to build their Curriculum Vitae (CV), to gain experience in public outreach/extension, leadership, and teamwork, and to practice presenting their research in an engaging and educational way! There will be cash prizes and trophies available for the best demonstrations or activities.

Think about what you do in your lab or classroom. Is there an activity you could modify for a hands-on workshop that could be done by a group of enthusiastic high schools students? We need graduate students like you to lead hands-on workshops for these budding scientists.

Graduate student booths are eligible to win a cash prize (1st place - $500; 2nd place - $300; 3rd place - $100) and a trophy/medal for the best booths, which will be determined based on the votes by high school students in attendance and a few select judges. Cash prizes will be divided among students hosting a particular booth. Trophies are handed out individually.

We expect about 200 high school students to attend Avenues of Scientific Discovery.  We would like to ensure we have enough workshops available so that we do not have to turn anyone away. This is a great mentoring program for these individuals interested in a career in science.


Offer a Workshop >>


Sponsor Avenues of Scientific Discovery

To continue making an impact on the high school students of our region, Avenues of Scientific Discovery needs your support. This conference is a prime opportunity to develop interest in science and science-related careers. There are no minimum sponsorship requirements for this conference.  Companies and organizations can provide a monetary donation in any amount they are comfortable with or donate door prizes for the individuals who attend. All sponsors are recognized on marketing materials, including the website, conference packets, and on-site signage.

What do sponsorships pay for?  While the registration cost is free we try to provide scholarships to as many regional high schools as possible. Scholarships help offset the expense of transporting their students to the event. You may choose to fully sponsor the transportation costs for a specific high school or your sponsorship dollars can be combined with other donations to assist regional schools.  We can make arrangements to ensure these donations get to regional high schools who could most benefit from them. Sponsorships can also cover extraneous conference costs including conference workshop materials and supplies that most graduate student workshop leaders pay for out of pocket. Donations of door prize items appropriate for high school students are also welcome.


Make a Donation >>



Frequently Asked Questions:

We put together a list of questions that participants, parents, and coordinating school districts frequently ask about the Avenues of Scientific Discovery event. Please review these questions prior to coming to NDSU for the event.

If you have any other questions not addressed here, please contact NDSU's Office of Teaching and Learning at 701-231-7015 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

What is Avenues of Scientific Discovery?
The objective of Avenues of Scientific Discovery is to show that science is fun and interesting. We also want to make science approachable for high school students, which might guide them into a field of study they would not have otherwise known about or been interested in. More important, showcasing different scientific fields of study allows high school students to experience what science is all about in postsecondary education and the real world.

Who can attend Avenues of Scientific Discovery?
Avenues of Scientific Discovery is open to all high school students (public, private, and home-school) in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo community and a few sub-sectors of high school-aged students across the state of North Dakota. Students, or groups of students, move at their own pace to investigate what different science fields are all about. Students participate in the activities, pose questions to graduate students, or just come to see science in action. 

Does our school have to pay anything for our students to attend?
No, there is no registration fee. 

Why do we have to pre-register students?
Students must be pre-registered for this event. The reason for this is, we need to have a waiver signed by their parents that allows them to attend the event. The waivers parents sign are required by the NDSU Police and Safety Office for any minor attending any event on campus. The event itself is generally considered safe and any required personal protective equipment (goggles, rubber gloves, etc.) is provided by NDSU.

Where do we park our school bus?
Event coordinators will give you directions to the designated bus parking. You may also choose to bring a school van. 

Is there a fee to park our school bus?
Parking is free for busses and vans when you park in the designated parking area. If you choose to park a school van in one of the visitor lots, please ensure you have paid for a parking pass at one of the pay stations. Your bus or van will receive a parking ticket if you are not parked in the designated parking area.

What should my students do with their coats?
We will have a coat hanging station for students to bring their winter coats. Some schools have also chosen to leave their coats on their bus since students are dropped off right at the door. It is up to your school which option you choose but please ensure students remove any personal items from their jackets to ensure items are not lost.

What instructions should I give my students for the event?
Event coordinators will meet briefly with you and your students in a room separate from the event to give them instructions. You and your students will have an opportunity to ask questions if needed. 

Are there enough restrooms near the event?
The Memorial Union offers restrooms right inside the ballroom. There is also another set of restrooms on the same level in the Union. There isn't a gender neutral bathroom located near the event; however, if one is required/preferred event staff can escort your student to the nearest gender neutral bathroom. Each restroom is equipped with a needle collection container for students who may require insulin shots while they are on campus.

Do my students need to bring anything?
Your students are not required to bring anything. If they are interested in taking notes, they are welcome to bring a notebook and pen or pencil. 

Is there water available for students?
Yes, there will be water available in the Memorial Union Ballroom with cups available. There is also a water bottle filling station right near the entrance and exit where busses drop off and pick up students.

Are there snacks available for students?
This event will not provide snacks; however, if a student requires a snack they are welcome to bring one. We do require snacks to be eaten outside of the Memorial Union Ballroom. Snacks can distract other students from hearing the workshop leaders and standard lab practice requires students refrain from eating in or near a lab. 



Event Contacts:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  // Education/Soil Science  // 701-231-6404