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Van Vleck High School WIT members "zip" through the Austin area: April 2012

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VVHS WIT members enjoyed an Easter Weekend STEM visit to the Austin area. The trip began with a hiking tour of Canyon Gorge on Canyon Lake. In 2002, a flood event occurred in which water ran over the spillway for six weeks washing away soil, rocks and trees and revealing a gorge filled with unique geological formations, lagoons, waterfalls, dinosaur tracks, and diverse marine fossils. Students learned about geology, hydrogeology, environmental science, and ecology. They also learned that Canyon Gorge is used as a training and research site for engineers and geologist in the petroleum industry, because the limestone formations in the Gorge are exactly like those in the Middle East.

WIT members also got a behind the scenes tour in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Texas. Dr. James Tunnell, Associate Professor, spoke to the students about what biomedical engineering is in general, and more specifically about his research in using biophotonics to diagnose cancer. Dr. Laura Suggs spoke about her research using stem cells to generate new heart tissue. WIT members were then taken into the labs where graduate students gave an intimate look at the research in progress.

The trip was topped off with a visit to Cypress Valley for a canopy tour. WIT members flew through the trees on zip lines and enjoyed the hill country view from sky bridges.

(By Mollie Huber)

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