New GVSU virtual learning series for community features faculty expertise presented in bite-sized fashion

How is the human voice sent through the air and heard hundreds of miles away? Why don't fish freeze? What is the science behind hand-washing?

Science is everywhere around us, and that theme is the basis of a new program hosted by the Regional Math and Science Center at Grand Valley State University that will feature the university's experts explaining scientific concepts in a digestible manner.

Grand Morsels is a virtual learning series presented in monthly interactive sessions that also allow time for questions. The first session is January 25 at 7 p.m., when Len O'Kelly, associate professor of multimedia journalism, will present "Talking Through the Air: The Science of Wireless Communication."

The program is intended for K-12 teachers along with secondary students and the community. Organizers are piloting the format, which is inspired by a similar program at Michigan Technological University, for the winter semester with plans to expand the series later, said Kris Pachla, director of the Regional Math and Science Center.

A microphone in a radio studio
In the first session of Grand Morsels, Len O'Kelly, associate director of the School of Communications, will look at the evolution and science behind broadcast transmissions.
Image Credit: Tanner Hamilton

"With teachers so pressed for time and stressed, we wanted to provide a low-pressure environment for some professional development," Pachla said.

The center's vision is to "inspire and engage everyone in STEM," Pachla noted, and the program not only meets that goal but also aligns with the community-engagement objectives of both the university and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which houses the Regional Math and Science Center.

Experts from that college, from O'Kelly to those in fields including biology, chemistry and anthropology are participating, according to organizers. Topics for future sessions will address water chemistry and hand-washing.

This program offers an opportunity for community members to experience, in a practical manner, the expertise of faculty members "at their best and in their elements," said Richard Besel, director of the GVSU School of Communications and a key partner in the effort.

"The Grand Morsels program is beneficial for several audiences and in a number of ways," Besel said. "Not only does the program provide an opportunity for students, teachers, families and community members to learn about science in 'bite-sized' portions, but it also provides GVSU faculty with a chance to think about how they would communicate complex ideas to potentially new audiences."

For more information, including details on the first session and how to register, visit the Grand Morsels website.