High schoolers step into the ‘cool’ world of STEM during UNK Science Day

KEARNEY, Neb. (Press Release) – The opportunities in STEM-related fields are endless.

These high-skill, high-wage jobs are projected to grow more than twice as fast as other occupations in Nebraska, and most of them require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“The STEM workforce is an area that’s continuously evolving. There are so many new careers out there in science, technology, engineering and math, including some we don’t even know about yet,” said Amy Nebesniak, an associate professor in the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Department of Math and Statistics.

Nebesniak and other UNK faculty promoted these opportunities Tuesday during an event that brought nearly 130 high schoolers to campus. Science Day gives students from across the state a chance to learn more about UNK’s academic programs and the professional paths they can take.

“We want students to know that UNK is a great place to study science, math and the other STEM areas,” Nebesniak said. “These are exciting programs that anyone can be part of.”

The high school juniors and seniors explored subjects such as biology, chemistry, engineering, health sciences, math and physics while participating in a variety of hands-on lab and classroom activities at UNK’s Bruner Hall of Science and Discovery Hall, a state-of-the-art STEM building that opened in fall 2020. The event also included a campus tour, planetarium show and free lunch provided by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Bailie Mills-Burress, a science teacher at Cody-Kilgore, brought 17 students to Science Day. They made the four-hour trip on Monday, ensuring everyone was energized for the event.

“This is a great opportunity for them to experience a college campus and begin thinking about their future,” Mills-Burress said. “The excitement, engagement, collaboration and critical thinking I’ve witnessed has been amazing. It’s been a phenomenal experience for them.”

In addition to Cody-Kilgore and Adams Central, students from Ansley, Cambridge, Clarkson, Hastings, Heartland Lutheran, Kearney Catholic, Lawrence-Nelson, Loup City, Nebraska City and Pleasanton participated in Science Day.


UNK will host its next Science Day on Jan. 27.

Students and teachers can register for the event by contacting Laura Jensen at unkscienceday@unk.edu or 308-865-8001. The registration deadline is Jan. 9.

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