LA Tech students use VISTA Program to create educational book for kids

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RUSTON, LA. (01/24/2020)– Louisiana Tech University offers a unique interdisciplinary education experience that allows students to combine their passion for science and art. For the past year, Rebecca and Maddie have combined their skill sets to create an interactive book directed towards middle schoolers.

This book is something that has been poured so much love into it and it has been from the start nothing short of an inspiration and a dream to work on,” LA Tech Studio Art & Graphic Design student, Maddie Dearman, said.

It’s called “The Journey of a Stem Cell.”

“We wanted to make it reader friendly so that students can understand what we do,” Rebecca Hodnett, a graduate student in Molecular Science and Nanotechnology, said. They can really get some of the science, understand it better. Also kind of personalize it with some of the interactivities that are included in the book.”

Rebecca says the book is a way to attract younger kids to careers in science, engineering, and even scientific illustration.

“We hope that students can see this and if they are visual learners be even more interested than normal,” Hodnett said. “This isn’t normal text book stuff, this is very bright and interesting and we just hope that it grabs them.”

Maddie, who illustrated the book, says through each page they are also exposing students to careers they may have never heard of.

“To see that these two different fields, or that these two different completely what may seem like opposite things can come together and make something completely new,” Dearman said. “We hope that this book inspires kids but also parents to see opportunities in places that they might not have seen otherwise.”

Nick Bustamante, Vista Center Director, says the goal is to get the book into the hands of students in the region and ultimately all over the nation. he says class sets have already been purchased by the Lincoln Parish School District.

“Over 200 of them are now out and in the hands of children, Bustamante said. “That’s pretty awesome to see a book with the idea of it, the creation of it, and now it’s actually being used and influencing and impacting children in the community. It’s just been a really rewarding experience.”

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