student with mic at podium

Sophie Wellinghoff presents at CALHE 2023.

May 5, 2023–Missouri Western State University education students this semester presented at a national conference, judged a science fair and promoted STEM.


At the national Conference of Applied Learning in Higher Education (CAHLE) at Missouri Western in March, five current and past students from Dr. Ollie Bogdon’s science education courses presented a 30-minute round table session titled “Student Experiences with Applied Learning in Science Education.” 

Dr. Bogdon started the session by explaining the challenges of identifying traditional education applied learning opportunities for science education, followed by each of the students sharing their experiences and personal growth through their participation in applied learning. The students–Bianca Vice, senior from St. Joseph; Molly Luthans, junior from St. Joseph; Tia Vernon, junior from North Kansas City, Missouri; Katherine Hensley, junior from Liberty, Missouri; and Sophie Wellinghoff, sophomore from Fairview Heights, Illinois–also reflected on how their experiences helped them grow in one of the essential skills acquisition areas identified in the Missouri Western Master Academic Plan.

Science Fair

science fair judges in Union Station KC.

Pictured from left to right, Mycah Schmitt, senior from Platte City, Missouri; Sophia Goetschius, senior from Plattsburg, Missouri; Drake Blanchard, senior from Savannah, Missouri; Alicia Castaneda, senior from St. Joseph; Katherine Hensley, junior from Liberty, Missouri; Koie Orozco, senior from St. Joseph; and Elizabeth Goff, senior from St. Joseph.

Also in March, Dr. Bogdon took seven students from her Science Education Pedagogy course to serve as academic judges at the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair (GKCSEF). 

“With over 500 projects on display at Union Station in Kansas City, our MWSU students were greeted with an abundance of gratitude for the time they were taking to help judge and promote STEM Education,” Dr. Bogdon said. 

Many of the students were pressed into service as head judges in some categories because of unexpected absences. “While none of our Griffons had experience judging science fair projects, with a crash course and good written directions, all stepped up to the plate, and represented MWSU with skill, grace and an energetic attitude,” she said.

Science Fun Zone

MWSU students at Union Station

Pictured left to right: Cara Wyse, senior from Orrick, Missouri; Carson Aycock, senior from East Prairie, Missouri; Koie Orozco, senior from St. Joseph; Marianna Sanchez, junior from St. Joseph; Zailey Chambers, senior from St. Joseph; and Alex Murray, senior from Kansas City, Missouri.

students with palm pipes

Chambers and Murray at the palm pipe table to teach kids about sound.

The following day the GKCSEF, for the first time, held a kids’ science fun zone for students to come and explore science phenomena and concepts while visiting the fair. Six students, using a variety of science concepts, spent three hours interacting with adults and children who visited Union Station.

While Dr. Bogdon’s science students worked at the fun zone, students from her Psychological Development of Children and Adolescents for Educators course visited Science City to collect observations of young people. These observations became the focus of a paper highlighting their ability to apply the content they have been learning in the class during the semester.

Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit