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High school students to share air quality research

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Since January, nearly 150 Delta County high schoolers have been conducting hands-on air quality research, thanks to a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and four local high schools.

The public is invited to view Delta High School student projects on Tuesday, May 23, at an Air Quality InQuiry (AQ-IQ) Science Symposium.The symposium will be held at the school at 1400 Pioneer Road in Delta from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Students from Paonia High School shared their projects at a previous symposium on April 5.

These events are co-sponsored by the Western Slope Conservation Center. If you would like to attend a free pizza dinner, please RSVP to Katya Hafich.

Under the guidance of CU Boulder mechanical engineering associate professor Michael Hannigan, graduate and undergraduate students have worked closely with teachers from Delta, Cedaredge, Hotchkiss and Paonia high schools to help the students design projects that investigate local air quality issues. Hannigan will talk about his research at the symposium.

The high school students designed their own research project, collected samples using low-cost, next-generation air quality monitors developed in Hannigan's lab and then analyzed their own data. Students at Cedaredge and Hotchkiss have presented their projects to CU Boulder students and faculty in their classrooms.

"This project is really about democratizing science," said Ben Graves, a co-founder of the AQ-IQ program and a science teacher at Delta High School. "CU Boulder helps provide our students in Delta with the tools they need to investigate and answer genuine questions about the air we breathe."

Graves will provide a brief history of the program at the symposium. Posters will be judged, and prizes given to the top three research projects.

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