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DHS students to present air quality findings May 16

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Through the University of Colorado Boulder's Air Quality Inquiry project, students in Delta County and beyond are asking questions like: How does air quality differ around dogs versus cats? Near old cars versus new cars? At basketball games versus swim meets? Or inside boys' locker rooms versus girls' locker rooms?

Delta High School students will showcase their findings in a symposium Thursday, May 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Delta High School.

"Seeing kids who aren't typically excited about science doing well and presenting on topics that really interest them is so rewarding," said junior Kelsea Keenan, a mechanical engineering student at CU Boulder. Over the course of the year, she and her classmates in CU Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science have been learning about air quality and mentoring high school students across Colorado.

The Air Quality Inquiry project was born out of CU Boulder's AirWaterGas research led by Professor Joe Ryan, which investigates sustainable pathways for oil and gas development. When CU Boulder AirWaterGas researchers installed air quality sensors atop Paonia High School, teachers wondered if they could use these sensors in their classrooms to teach students.

Thus began the Air Quality Inquiry project, which supplies classrooms with sophisticated but affordable sensors to conduct experiments in addition to college mentors to help guide their research.

In the future, the team hopes to expand outreach beyond air quality to robotics or biomedical needs.

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