General Information

Discovering the Scientist Within is a free half-day workshop held at the Oregon State University designed for around 120 middle school aged (6-8th grade) participants. As part of a small group, each student attends two science activity exploration activities as well as an opening session.


Sample Schedule (Subject to change)

Discovering the Scientist Within takes place on the OSU campus and runs from 8:30-12:45. (Check-in begins at 8:00)

8:00-8:30 - Event Check-in

8:30-9:00 - Hear from a practicing OSU Woman in Science staff member 

9:45-10:45 - Activity 1

10:45-11:15 - Transition, snack

11:15-12:15 - Activity 2

12:15-12:45 - Post-event survey

Sample Activities 

These change every year, here is a list of activities that have been offered at previous Discovering the Scientist Withins. This year's activities will be posted on the DSW registration page when they are final.


  • Phabulous Pharmacy - Our hands-on activity will be the "pharmaceutical" preparation of lip balm and an introduction to physical assessment techniques and career opportunities in pharmacy.
  • Sketch-Up! - Join us in the computer graphics lab to explore Google Stetch-Up, software that you can use to create, modify, and share 3D models.
  • Say Cheese! - In this session, you'll make your very own sample of queso fresco, a cheese very popular in Mexican food. Practice the steps that cheesemakers use and why understanding science is so important in the process!
  • Awesome Arthropods - Insects, just like humans, rely on their senses to survive in the environment. Learn more about where insects live and how they communicate.
  • Cool Chemistry - Investigating Chemical Reactions - Investigate a chemical reaction and design some follow-up experiements of your own. We'll also see some "cool" chemistry with liquid nitrogen and dry ice.
  • Hands-on DNA - If you isolated all the DNA in your body, it would stretch from here to the moon! We will discover how to isolate DNA from strawberries. You get to take your strawberry DNA home with you!
  • Spalting: Painting Wood with Fungi - In nature, many species of fungi produce intricate patterns and colorful pigments in wood. Learn how these fungi work and harness them to create your very own piece of spalted wood!
  • Engineering Design Challenge with K-NEX - Engineers are jugglers! Join us in the design studio and build a prototype vehicle with K'NEX based on customer specifications and preference.
  •  A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian - Spend an hour in the shoes of a Veterinarian! Work with live animals and listen to heart and lung sounds, look at x-rays, eye anatomy, and more!
  • Almost Alchemy - Students learn how to transform a regular copper penny into a gold-colored copper penny! They will also get to experiment with metal combinations to see what other colorful alloys they can make. 
  • Zoology Detectives - Coral reefs and amphibians are declining all over the world, and we need to know why. Collect clues to solve the mystery of the disappearing frogs and declining corals.