SURF focuses on education, outreach to keep SD’s STEM students in-state

LEAD, S.D. — We’ve recently covered the science being done at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, and they’re doing hard work to make sure the state’s children and teachers learn about it as well.

Sanford Lab’s Education and Outreach Department is designed to inspire and engage students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. SURF provides STEM workshops for local educators and a host of curriculum material that can be used in the classroom.

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Inside the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitors Center in Lead (photo date: April 19, 2022)

In addition to field trips to the facility, SURF’s Education and Outreach team goes into schools for presentations on STEM careers and the research being done at the facility.

It’s a collaboration with Black Hills State University that’s designed to keep South Dakota’s students in state after graduation.

“It’s important for students because we want them to know no matter what they want to do, they can be in South Dakota,” says Nicol Reiner, the director of education & outreach at SURF. “So, you can go into agriculture, you can go into medicine, you can go into science research or engineering, and there are cool opportunities for you no matter what you want to do here in South Dakota. We want our kids to stay!”

As part of their community outreach, SURF hosts public talks and events like Neutrino Day, which is coming up in June. They also operate the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, an eight-thousand-square-foot facility where people can learn about the goings-on at SURF for free.

“It’s incredibly exciting. It’s the best of the world of history and the community, then also to be able to celebrate the future and the direction that the Sanford Underground Research Facility is going,” says Kelly Kirk, director of the center.

The Visitors Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on West Main Street in Lead.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News