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On Saturday's syllabi: zombies, fracking and more

Splash UNC
Senior biology major Paige Springman walks her group of high school students through the history of zombie-themed movies during her "A 'Fleshed' Out History of Zombies" class during the Splash UNC event on Saturday, March 30, 2019.

Around 400 high schoolers were on campus Saturday, taking classes for the day about unique topics taught by UNC students.

The 2019 Splash UNC, an event where student teachers have the opportunity to design a class around what they are passionate about, had about 200 UNC students step up and take advantage of this opportunity.

Paige Springman, the administrative adviser and a student teacher for Splash UNC, said it gives UNC students a taste of the other side of education from the teaching perspective. 

“It fosters a new appreciation for learning and for education, not just for the high school students but for the college students, as well,” Springman said. “Because UNC students who volunteer with us and teach with us, they can directly see the impact that it has on these kids — they can see how much fun learning is and how much fun it can be.”

And the fun part is that student teachers can teach a class about literally anything.

This is Springman’s fourth semester of teaching her class called “A Fleshed Out History of Zombies” in which she discusses the history, religious meaning and cultural background behind the creation of the iconic zombie in fiction and popular culture.

“It’s a whole science,” said Springman, expressing that it is both thought-provoking and fun for her and the high schoolers.

Christopher Bowers, another student teacher for Splash UNC and fourth-year Ph.D. student, designed his class around hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” because it encapsulates all of the issues involved with the environment on a large scale, he said. He chose this topic because he feels that a lot of people don’t understand what fracking is or the impactful environmental consequences of it.

Splash UNC allows high schoolers to be exposed to opinions about current issues from younger people they can relate to rather than adults already high up in their careers, Bowers said.

“It’s important for high schoolers because they are really in an early stage in their development, and they’re in a particularly open stage,” Bowers said. “It’s when they are starting to really form opinions about different things.”

For many of the high schoolers, this is a taste of what attending UNC could be like.

But for some of them, this is their first and only experience of what college is like, said Emily Parker, the executive director of Splash UNC.

Parker has a goal for the program to expand its outreach to attract more first-generation students, with campus tours and advisers for their parents to bridge the information gap about financial aid and what college life looks like. This includes a Q&A session with a student panel, as well as one with admissions officers.

“UNC students really get this platform to share what they’re passionate about,” Parker said. “... High school students can share that and learn more about passions or contribute it to their own while learning about life as a UNC student and getting a little taste of the campus.”

Want to get involved?

Splash UNC will be looking for new leaders to step up for next year, Parker said. 

@AnnaSouthwell1 

university@dailytarheel.com

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