The Ohio State University at Lima

STEAM on the Quad delivers variety

September 30, 2021

STEAM on the Quad participant at the Charles River Labs activity table

STEAM on the Quad purposely brings together activities that focus on the sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts and humanities in an effort to build an interest in the fields from a young age.

Each year, the campus is filled with looks of wonder and giggles of delight at the slime, robots, building projects, science experiments and feats of computer programming all over the Quad.

“STEAM on the Quad is a great place for people of all ages to learn about science and the arts and how they affect our everyday life. Kids have fun and don’t realize they are learning and parents find out that science isn’t just in a classroom or lab,” said Lee Parker, parent of two attendees. “The boys love going to it every year.”

The Parkers investigate pulleys at STEAM on the Quad

As the Parkers and other STEAM on the Quad participants have discovered, the STEAM fields offer something for everyone.

In 2021, community partner Charles River Lab featured activities in animal husbandry, biology and chemistry, a lineup that doesn’t do justice to all the STEAM fields represented in the Spencerville business. In addition to biologists, chemists and animal scientists, site manager Rusty Rush regularly hires pathologists, statisticians, data analysts, writers, medical technologists and engineers.

“When you think of a research laboratory, you think of a bunch of scientists in white coats with beakers and whatnot, but the business of research is much, much broader than that,” Rush said. “We need all aspects of the business managed whether it's the research side or the business side or the IT side or groundskeeping.”

The Spencerville division of Charles River largely looks at the safety of pharmaceutical products before they move on to the first phase of human clinical trials. A minimum of 50-60 trials of varying durations are going on at any given time, requiring scientists and all the support professions that come along with them.

Rush plans to add about 100 additional employees following a planned expansion over the next few years. He would love to offer those opportunities to students in the area

“I want to give the students the opportunity to have internships to learn about what careers are available once they graduate and if we get a few of the employees, as we've done over the years or a few of the students to become employees, that's great,” Rush said. “There's a different work ethic here. It's a rural community but it's a hard-working rural community and that transfers to these research jobs that they fill.”

The company has facilities within close proximity to several Ohio State campuses and college students can and do take advantage of both scholarship and internship opportunities. STEAM on the Quad is chance to reach even further into the future employment pipeline and build a love of science and curiosity at a young age.

“I'd love it if we had a second grader at this event who grew up and came to work for us at Charles River in Spencerville, but it's much broader than that,” Rush said. “Getting kids interested in the sciences, understanding sciences, just helps society more broadly.”

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STEAM on the Quad is a free, family-friendly event for kids in grades K-8 to improve their knowledge and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Humanities, and Math through hands-on activity. A variety of activities are hosted by the 4-H programs of Putnam, Hardin, Allen, Hancock, Lucas, Auglaize and Logan counties; the Ohio State Lima departments of education, engineering, biology, mathematics, earth sciences and theatre; and a variety of student clubs, community businesses and organizations.

STEAM on the Quad is a collaboration between Ohio State Lima and the OSU Extension offices in the surrounding areas. The 2021 event was presented with support from Charles River Lab. Additional 2021 partners include First National Bank and Kewpee Hamburgers.