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Toombs goes from Science Day participant to organizer

November 2, 2012
By cnp
Posted in Community Service

Approximately 200 high school students are expected to attend University of the Ozarks' seventh annual Science Day, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14. Science Day is devoted to science competition for high school juniors and seniors from throughout the region.

Emily Toombs, a junior biology major from Lamar, Ark., is president of the university’s Ozarks Biological Society (OBS) as well as Tri-Beta, an honor society for biology majors. Toombs attended Science Day at Ozarks for the first time as a junior in high school. Now, five years later, she’s organizing the event for others.

"This is my first year organizing Science Day. I’ve assisted with the planning for the past two years, but this is my first year being in charge. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it," Toombs said.  "We invited about thirty different schools, and we’re expecting to host around 200 students for the event."

The event will include tours of campus; a test composed of three sections: biology, chemistry, and physics; and various workshops from science professors.

"After they tour campus, the students will take their tests, which are the competitive parts of the day," Toombs described. "While we’re grading their tests, the students will get to participate in different workshops presented by nine different science faculty members."

Once the tests have been graded, awards will be presented.

"The top three scores from each section will win awards, as well as the top three students overall. We’ll also give an award to the tops three schools with the highest cumulative scores," Toombs explained.

"Also, for the top senior who is planning to study biology at Ozarks, we’ll also award the T.L. Smith science scholarship," she said.

According to Toombs, Science Day is about more than a simple science competition, however.

"Of course, we want Science Day to promote science to students and get them excited about that prospect, but we also want to show them Ozarks and  how passionate our science professors are about the subjects they teach," Toombs explained.

Toombs knows firsthand how important Science Day can be to high school juniors and seniors who may be unsure about where to further their education.

"My first Science Day, during my junior year of high school, was actually my first time on Ozarks’ campus ever. I didn’t grow up that far away, but I didn’t really consider Ozarks as a choice before that day," Toombs said.

"I knew I wanted to study biology. When I came to Science Day and saw how serious the professors were at Ozarks and how much they loved the topics they were teaching, I knew that I wanted to learn from them," she said.

Toombs wants to make sure that this year’s event offers each high school student the same experience she had.

"I want them to feel like Ozarks is a place where we’re serious about studying science, but where we also have a lot of fun and really get to know one another," she said.

For more information about Science Day or to register online, visit, or contact Biology Professor Dr. Sean Coleman at