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College of Business hosts Jefferson Elementary School fifth graders for a day at ISU

April 24, 2018

Fifth graders

POCATELLO – For the fourth year in a row, the Idaho State University College of Business hosted the fifth-grade classes of Pocatello’s Jefferson Elementary School for a day at ISU.

During their visit, the 60 students were divided into three activities consisting of a chemistry demonstration hosted by chemistry professor Joshua Pak, a “History of the Future” presentation given by informatics professor Bob Houghton discussing the history of computers and technology and a campus tour given by student ambassadors.

Houghton and Jefferson’s fifth grade teacher, Chris Richardson, developed the event four years ago when Richardson realized a need to show students the benefits and fun of continuing their education after high school.

“Mr. Richardson came to me concerned about the future of his students,” Houghton said. “Mr. Richardson was teaching an advanced placement math course at Jefferson and when he asked his students whether or not they planned to attend college, most of them did not raise their hands.”

Houghton said this was a major concern for Richardson, especially among a group of students that had demonstrated such high academic potential. According to Houghton, he and Richardson arranged for the group of math students to attend a college-style lecture at ISU.

“Over time that single lecture has turned into a day at ISU and the group of students has expanded from the advanced math students to Richardson’s fifth grade class and now to Jefferson’s entire fifth-grade program,” Houghton said.

According to Richardson, the event has been a great program to help his students realize the fun and potential of going to college.

“With this event, we are able to provide the idea of going to college as a constant thought. By introducing this idea to them at a young age it allows them to start thinking about it,” Richardson said. “By providing students with a fun and memorable experience at ISU, they are more likely to put the idea and intent of going to college in their plans for the future.”

Over the past few years, Richardson said students still talk about the fun they had at ISU, and some of the students still have their College of Business pennants hanging up at home. One of Richardson’s students exclaimed, “This trip to ISU got me excited for college because of all the science that we were involved with. It got me excited to learn about a lot of things such as the history of the future and the evolution and advancement of technology.”

Last year students attended a tie-dye activity at the ISU Craft Shop where they colored white ISU College of Business T-shirts. Houghton also conducted a fun lecture on the miniature computer devices called Raspberry Pi’s and students were given the chance to win a Raspberry Pi of their own.

“We hope to continue this program for Jefferson’s fifth graders every year,” Houghton said. “It’s a lot of fun to have the kids on campus for a day and it’s a great feeling knowing we may be making a major difference in their futures by just showing them one day of fun at ISU.”