STEM & Health Sciences AQDay

  • student looking thorough microscope in a classroom

STEM & Health Sciences AQDay - Friday, November 2, 2018

If you are a high school student interested in pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math), health sciences, nursing, or kinesiology (athletic training or exercise science) career - this day is for you! 

High school students are invited to the AQ campus for a fun-filled day of discovery in the STEM fields. Explore our natural arboretum (our campus is 117 acres of trees, creeks and ponds), hear from current students, have lunch with potential classmates and meet and chat with faculty from your specific area of interest. To expand your analytical mind, we also have some great sessions prepared for you. All sessions will be led by Aquinas faculty and current students. Space is limited in most sessions. 

Lastly, you will be given a unique (and optional) opportunity to visit one of the leading cancer research institutes in the country - the Van Andel Research Institute in downtown Grand Rapids. See below for description.  

“The professors were so engaging and dynamic, and the students were very welcoming and informative. I felt I learned something from every event of the day.”

“Sessions were helpful and interesting with people helping us understand what was going on. They welcomed questions, kept me thinking and taught different things.”



Friday, November 2, 2018

Did you know...

  • Downtown Grand Rapids is home to the "Medical Mile."
  • More than 25 percent of this year's incoming freshman class at Aquinas indicated an interest in Pre-Med, Nursing, Health, Pre-Engineering, Science, or Math. 
  • 2017 marks our 14th annual Science, Nursing & Math AQDay - over 200 students attended our event last year. 
  • In Grand Rapids, a life-science building boom has added $1 billion in research facilities, hospital expansions and medical centers. 
  • For the record, life sciences generally refers to all sciences dealing with organisms such as plants, animals, and humans. This label could refer to anyone who works for hospitals, drug companies, or research centers. In Kent County, that number is 30,000, making life sciences the biggest job sector in the county.

Schedule of Events (Tentative):

Time Scheduled Event
9:30 to 10 a.m. Registration (Wege Ballroom) (Get Map and Directions)
9:30 to 10:15 a.m. STEM and Health Sciences Faculty Information Tables
10:15 to 10:25 a.m. Welcome and Overview
10:25 to 11:45 a.m. Campus Tour
11:45 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.  Complimentary Lunch
12:30 to 1:20 p.m.

Breakout Session I: (choose one) *

  • Discovering the World through Geospatial Technologies
  • Exploring Careers in Kinesiology
  • Magic to Them, Math to Us
  • Preparing for a Career in the Health Sciences (no limit, parents invited)
  • The WMU/AQ Engineering Partnership
  • Treasures of Chemistry
  • Using Reptiles to Write Computer Programs
  • Who Wants to be a Nurse (no limit, parents invited)
1:30 to 2:20 p.m.

Breakout Session II: (choose one) *

  • Data Analytics: Turning Information into Knowledge
  • Discovering the World through Geospatial Technologies
  • Exploring Careers in Kinesiology
  • Have a Heart? (2nd session only)
  • Magic to Them, Math to Us
  • Physics is Phun: Discover your Inner Engineer!
  • Preparing for a Career in the Health Sciences (no limit, parents invited)
  • Who Wants to be a Nurse (no limit, parents invited)


  • *Parents: Because session space is limited and we are expecting a large turnout, you will be unable to attend each breakout session with your student. Breakout sessions will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.

A parent session will be offered from 12:30 - 1:20 and 1:30 - 2:20 in the Wege Loutit room to go over general information, admission and scholarships. Members of our admissions staff would be happy to answer any questions that you may have during that session and will also be available in the Moose Café, our on-campus coffee shop, throughout the afternoon's events. You are also welcome to visit our bookstore in lower Wege Center or the Grace Hauenstein Library.


2:25 p.m. Closing 
2:30 p.m. Optional Tour of the Van Andel Research Institute (See below for description.) 

>Register Online

STEM & Health Sciences AQDay Sessions: (Space may be limited in some sessions)

  • Preparing for a Career in the Health Sciences: If you are thinking about becoming a doctor, veterinarian, dentist, physical or occupational therapist, physician assistant or going to graduate school after college, this session is for you! Hear a panel of current biology and chemistry students discuss just what is involved in succeeding at Aquinas and beyond. A panel of students and professors will discuss class difficulty, how to balance a social life with a demanding schedule, availability of student research, and much more. Plenty of time will be reserved for questions and answers. Come satisfy your curiosity, and see if studying the natural science at AQ is the right fit for you.
  • Have a Heart?: We’ll investigate the structure and function of the human heart, using sheep heart dissection and human heart models to examine heart anatomy and various physiological measurements to assess heart function.
  • Who Wants to be a Nurse? : The perfect session for anyone considering a career in nursing!  Hear a panel of current nursing students discuss just what is involved in becoming a nurse.  Learn about clinical hours, class difficulty, how to balance a social life with a demanding schedule, and much more.  Plenty of time has been reserved for questions and answers.  Come satisfy your curiosity, ease your concerns, and learn just how nurses can "make all the difference in the world."
  • Magic to Them, Math to Us: Learning a few magic tricks which rely on math and then exploring some of the math which runs in the background of our lives. Encryption, decryption, digital cash and more.  
  • Treasures of Chemistry : At Aquinas, Chemistry students learn to work in the lab safely and productively, using modern technology and techniques. During this sessions, visitors will collaborate with current students to complete a series of chemistry-related missions. Accolades will be presented to teams exhibiting creativity, accuracy, and speed. Discover what chemistry is all about!
  • Exploring Careers in Kinesiology: What is Kinesiology? It is the study of the human body in movement.  The panel discussion will walk you through the department’s allied health and fitness offerings that can lead to exciting careers as an athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, or a personal trainer. Students will hear from their peers and department faculty on what the Athletic Training and Exercise Science majors entail.  They will also look at what aspirations the students have for their future employment, hear what is expected both academically and clinically from each program and learn about exciting internship options. 
  • Discovering the World through Geospatial Technologies: Geospatial technologies are used by environmental scientists, geographers, historians, and others to study and gain an understanding of earth processes; natural and man-made events; to study the past; and to plan for the future. In this session, you will have a chance to use AQ's computer mapping and spatial analysis tools to map historical data related to great disasters such as the Great Plague of London (1665) or the Great Fire of London (1666).
  • Physics is Phun: Discover your Inner Engineer!: In this session, everyone will think like a scientist and conduct a mini-research project. We are going to measure the microwave's wavelength with a ruler and liquid crystal sheets. Due to the special thermochroic properties of liquid crystal, we will also use it to study heat conduction and the efficiency of light resource. In the end of the session, you will have a chance to see how a 3D printer is applied in scientific research. Let's find our inner scientist!
  • Using Reptiles to Write Computer Programs: Have you ever wondered where computer programs come from or how they are written? We will give you a chance to participate in a fun hands-on session allowing you to use AQ's computers to create a program using Turtle Graphics and the Python programming language. You will see how using a tiny bit of computer science, computer technologies, software engineering, and some simple math all mixed together can permit your computer to produce graphical art.
  • The WMU/AQ Engineering Partnership: Discuss the engineering partnership between Aquinas and Western Michigan University and the types of engineering pathways you can pursue through this program.  
  • Data Analytics: Turning Information into Knowledge: You may have hear that data analytics is a fast-growing and in-demand field, and this is very true. But exactly is data analytics, anyway? In this session, we will work through the entire data analytics process, starting with raw, messy data and ending with nicely presented display which conveys a piece of knowledge hidden in the data. Along the way, we'll see some of the skills needed and software commonly used by data analysts.

Van Andel Research Institute Tour
An optional tour of the Van Andel Research Institute (a world-class medical research facility that has gained worldwide recognition for research into the genetic and molecular origins of cancer and other diseases) in downtown Grand Rapids will be available to a small number of attendees (approximately 30) after completion of the days events. This will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis. If we are not able to accommodate you on this tour, you will be notified before the event.

>Register Online