Science Club president has big plans for future

Science Club president has big plans for future

Monday, February 24, 2014

Contact

Mark Miller
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Snow Popus has been overcoming obstacles her entire life.

After leaving school in the third grade, she came to OTC to gain her GED. Now, Popus serves as president of the newly created OTC Science Club. She is on her way toward eventually earning a doctorate in teaching and a medical degree in osteopathic remedies while serving in the Air Force.

"My father didn't go to school but he insisted I read Shakespeare and learn science," Popus said.

She learned to love science, a field of study that is dominated by men, according to Jen Snyder, OTC chemistry instructor and department chair of the physical science department.

"The retention rate for college students studying in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (know as STEM) is low as well as things like the science club can help keep the interest up," Snyder said.

"By 2020, there are going to be so many job in the STEM fields that we won't have enough prospects to fill the openings. About 40 percent are staying in the fields in college."

But Popus is determined to make it in medicine, thanks to some help from the Air Force, where she will soon enlist and study medicine on a military scholarship, followed by  five years of active duty and three years of inactive. She will also work in a VA hospital for a period of time.

Popus has completed her transfer degree at OTC to Missouri State and is attending both institutions to complete a bachelors of science duel major in chemistry and cell and biomolecular biology.

Popus is glad the science club has gotten off the ground at OTC.

"First and foremost it provides students a chance to get involved in their school and community. Getting involved is essential in giving a person a feeling of ownership in their education and community," she said.

Some of the clubs activities have included working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to provide a day of scientific fun at OTC, a Science Olympiad for middle school students who will enjoy games and competitions based in science and science movie night.

"It gives students a chance to make friends of diverse backgrounds and teaches them to work together towards a common goal," Popus said. "Our goal is passing on our love of the sciences to others and helping others in the community."