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CAFE Goes to School By Carol Lea Spence Photography by Matt Barton

Plant Pathology‘s Lou Hirsch introduces students from Garrard County High School to “everything from fungi to bacteria” during their field trip to his UK laboratory.

“We're able to take a really complex, in-depth project and incorporate high school students, so they can broaden their scientific knowledge and also make a meaningful contribution to important research.” −Lou Hirsch 18 | The magazine 18

It's quiet in the laboratory, where everyone is “intensely microscoping,” as Lou Hirsch puts it. Whether or not that's a noun that deserves promotion to a verb, Hirsch accurately describes the activity of 20 or so Garrard County High School students during a daytrip to his lab in the Plant Science Building on the University of Kentucky campus. They will examine “everything from fungi to bacteria,” the UK plant pathology lecturer tells them. That's just a sample of what elementary, middle school, and high school students explore when the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment arrives at their schools or invites them to campus, giving them a taste of a university education long before they make future career decisions. “I've made it my professional goal to broaden STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curricula by introducing agriculturally focused laboratory modules into classrooms,” Hirsch said. “I like to remind students that microbiology affects a lot more than (human) medicine. In agriculture, we do the same research that occurs in biology or medicine. We just focus on agriculturally relevant organisms.”

The Ag Magazine, Spring 2018