BHSU students, alumni visit underground lab in China
SPEARFISH, S.D. – Four Black Hills State University (BHSU) students and two local middle school teachers, who are also BHSU alums, traveled to China this past summer to participate in an international meeting on furthering germanium technology.
The students and teachers toured the Chinese Jinping Underground Lab, the deepest in the world. The students and middle school teachers had the opportunity because of a National Science Foundation consortium award. Germanium is used in several applications underground including as a dark matter detector medium and at the BHSU Underground Campus at the Sanford Underground Research Facility to characterize materials for large-scale physics experiments.
The cultural and scientific knowledge gained during the trip has an effect on their studies and careers back in South Dakota.
Dr. Brianna Mount, an assistant professor of physics at BHSU, said the students and teachers who participated will bring the knowledge back into their careers and classrooms in South Dakota.
“Two of the BHSU students who traveled to China are now participating in research at the BHSU Underground Campus,” said Mount. “We selected middle school teachers to be part of this project because that age can often be a turning point for whether or not students continue to pursue higher levels of science for future study or professions.”
Mount said the summer travel program is part of the NSF’s Partnerships for International Research Education (PIRE). PIRE is used for researchers and educators to operate effectively in teams with partners from different national environments and cultural backgrounds.
BHSU students will have the opportunity to attend the international meeting and receive professional development support for the next five years as part of the NSF funding.
Alberta Miner, K’Dyn Newbrough, Ayla Rodriguez, Megan Wattenhofer, Andy Johnson, and Rob Dahlenburg all participated in the program.