Students often ask themselves, “How will I use this in the ‘real world?’”

Engineering students can stop asking that question with real-life applications for the things they are learning, like the Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youth (SESEY) put on by Oregon State University.

This past summer Yoncalla High School senior Priya Allen attended this summer learning experience.

This experience altered her perspective of various engineering branches and opportunities.

“I am so incredibly grateful to have been given an opportunity to participate in SESEY,” Allen said. “In less than a week I discovered that bioengineering was not nearly as interesting to me as chemical engineering. I also learned a lot from the camp counselors about life at OSU and college in general.”

While at OSU, Allen was able to stay in Weatherford Hall and experience the college life by attending lectures about majors, careers, and college life.

Part of the experience was taking a trip to the University of Oregon and being able to tour the campus.

However, the majority of time was spent at OSU working on her lab project with her partner alongside an undergraduate and a graduate student. The project was overseen by an associate professor of environmental engineering.

The project was focused on finding the most efficient varieties of plants for stormwater cleaning and pertained mainly to environmental and biological engineering. The work was completed in a biohazard level 1 lab where the group conducted Chemical Oxygen Demand, Total Suspended Solids, ammonium, and UV 254 tests utilizing very expensive equipment. At the end of the week, the results were presented to parents and project mentors.

Initiated by Oregon State University in 1997, SESEY is coordinated by the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering.

Allen would highly recommend anyone interested in science and engineering to apply.

“At SESEY you are given an opportunity that can rarely be experienced anywhere else,” Allen said. “The fact that I was able to produce data that could contribute to incredible discoveries is invaluable.”

Brian Berry is the Yoncalla School District Superintendent.

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