CLEMSON – On a day when a brilliant sun and thunderous music battled for supremacy, Clemson University’s “Be a T.I.G.E.R. Field Day” shined brightest of all.

In the morning and early afternoon before the 2019 Clemson Football Spring Game, the College of Science partnered with Clemson Athletics to host a fun-filled family event attended by several thousand would-be citizen scientists.

“The College of Science is lucky to represent the ‘E’ in T.I.G.E.R., which stands for Education,” said Katherine Freeman, an instructor and lab technician in Clemson University’s Life Science’s Outreach Center. “Today, SCIENCE brought some activities from almost all our departments, which include biology, physics and chemistry. Our goal is to bring science to the children. We’re hoping we can inspire them by showing what science has to offer and maybe encourage them to one day join the College of Science.”

Participants learned about venomous and nonvenomous snakes in South Carolina, explored the wonders of the natural world with animals from the Bob and Betsy Campbell Natural History Museum, viewed reptiles like an anole and chameleon, discovered the amazing properties of the chemical world, and learned about the physics required to power a cannon using mostly just air.

Girl wowed by exhibit

Several thousand kids of all ages were wowed by the SCIENCE display at the ‘Be a T.I.G.E.R. Field Day” event on Saturday.
Image Credit: College of Science

“We’re here showing our guests some of the neighbors you might have in your backyard – especially some non-venomous and venomous snakes that are common in Upstate South Carolina,” said Erich Hofmann, a doctoral student in the department of biological sciences and a member of the Parkinson Lab.

“The kids get really close to the glass and are really excited, while it tends to be the parents who stand a little bit farther away,” Hofmann added with a chuckle.

For most of the four-hour event, which began at 10 a.m. Saturday on the lawn outside of Littlejohn Coliseum, a line of people more than a hundred deep waited eagerly to get inside the long series of canopies that housed the SCIENCE exhibits, which included living creatures as well as skulls, hides and even a swirling tangle of gummy worms.

“We’re here today making gummy worms with the kids,” said Tania Houjeiry, a senior lecturer in the department of chemistry. “It’s an experiment that we normally do for children. A few start by playing with it and want to eat it. And some of them think it’s a little bit slimy. But most of the kids really love making gummy worms.”

The College of Science pursues excellence in scientific discovery, learning and engagement that is both locally relevant and globally impactful. SCIENCE is preparing the next generation of scientists to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. The “Be a T.I.G.E.R. Field Day” went a long way toward doing just that.