DENVER - In order to get into Dr. Charles Musiba's research lab, you need to scan a keycard to unlock a secured elevator, go to the basement of the University of Colorado Denver's new science building and negotiate through the bolted door protecting priceless fossils dating back 5 million years. This week, he brought in 650 students from around the country.
"It was exciting to be able to do that," said Musiba, associate professor of Anthropology at CU Denver.
Musiba is part of the Scientists in Action program put on by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This is one of only two programs nationwide bringing real world scientists into classrooms across the country through video-conferencing technology.
"The fact that we have the technology which now actually allows us to actually communicate with a lot of kids," said Musiba. "Not only across the country, but you could actually do it all over the world."
Musiba talked with 650 students from New Jersey to Montana to Denver about his work at a dig site in Northern Tanzania. He gave students a video tour or his lab showing off some of his prized fossils.
Students at the Denver Center for International Studies were part of the group learning across the United States.
"It's really interesting how he was telling us about all his lab equipment," said Camilla Green, 7th grader at DCIS.
Musiba says he likes the fact that students from each school can ask him questions about the life of a scientist.
"Here are kids who are actually curious about anthropology," said Musiba. "They're curious about who we are and basically they're curious about our own stories."
DCIS 7th Grader Anna Krutsinger liked working with other schools through the video conference system.
"I think that by listening to their questions and by them listening to our questions, they can get a better understanding of what he's trying to convey."
Musiba hopes that he can steer more kids into the fields of science at a young age by showing them what his job is all about.
"If there are one or two or ten kids who may not only be excited about anthropology, but excited about science," said Musiba. "I believe that we can actually make difference and the fact that we can reach those kids all over the country."
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