Friday the University of Mount Olive (UMO) held a ribbon cutting for its mobile laboratory that focuses on agriculture and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) educational opportunities. Appropriately called, UMObile, the bus-based traveling laboratory will be used as an educational resource for the University.
Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Sarah Lahman talked about the mission of UMObile saying, “instead of making discoveries in a lab, we want to be able to take all the equipment and opportunity to where discovery lies out in the field, within our communities, and with all ages of students.”
The idea for the mobile lab came about as faculty members within the UMO School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences were discussing ways to reach a variety of audiences including students interested in agriculture, conservationists, educators, and farmers. “A mobile lab was not the original goal, but after much deliberation on the specifics of a new biology field lab, the idea of a bus, repurposed to house lab equipment became the frontrunner. As you can see, it is a success,” said Dean of the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences Dr. Sandy Maddox.
According to Lahman, the bus-based laboratory houses state of the art technology like incubators for tissue cultures, a DNA sequencer, environmental probes, and computers for analyzing, visualizing, and sharing results. “These features make the new lab a valuable addition to the University’s repertoire of educational outreach materials,” Lahman said.
University of Mount President Dr. H. Edward Croom sees the new UMObile lab as a way that faculty can reach students and foster an early interest in STEM related topics, while also promoting the University.
For more information or to schedule the UMObile lab, visit umo.edu/mobile-lab.