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Kansas State University

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School groupGenetic research and biotechnology programs are just a few of the opportunities that have been made available to Johnson County K-12 students through Kansas State University's Olathe campus.

With a K-State building in the Kansas City metro, students at area schools have a direct portal to the university's pre-college possibilities.

"Authentic, hands-on experiences have shown to motivate and inspire students to pursue their interests," said Teresa Woods, coordinator of the Olathe educational partnership.

Students in the Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley school districts already have been able to jump-start their future careers in science through educational partnerships.

"The Olathe campus and the accompanying opportunities for professional collaboration in the development of cutting-edge, world-class programming are truly unique," said Gretchen Sherk, director of secondary programs at the Olathe school district. "We look forward with much anticipation to the potential outcomes for our K-12 programs and students who, to date, have only begun to scratch the surface of their possibilities."

In the Olathe school district:

* K-State Olathe has partnered with some of the district's 21st Century high school transfer programs, which help students make class work relevant to the outside world.

* Four Olathe North High School students participated in research through Olathe North's 21st Century biotechnology/life sciences Program. The students worked with Kristopher Silver, postdoctoral fellow of clinical sciences at K-State, to investigate the effects of non-steroidal pain relievers on the gastrointestinal tract of horses.

* Students in the district can participate in Olathe North's 21st Century animal health program. They can learn from K-State faculty about all areas of animal sciences through hands-on lab and field experiences.

* Students in Olathe Northwest High School's 21st Century e-communication program have worked on projects with K-State's International Food Safety Network staff to learn about conveying food safety messages. The students created Flash animated clips, 3-D comic book-like characters, food safety games and music videos using pop songs adapted to food safety messages.

* K-State has had representatives at the school district's ninth grade career fair to highlight the different 21st Century programs and K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine.

In the Shawnee Mission school district:

* Biotechnology students had the opportunity to learn more about the biotechnology field through a tour of various K-State departments and a virtual tour of K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute.

In the Blue Valley school district:

* K-State Olathe staff have helped initiate the development of bioscience programs associated with the Center for Advanced Professional Studies, which provides juniors and seniors with profession-based learning opportunities that focus on real-world problems.