The biology and health science departments at Montreat College have teamed up to create a series of field trips to experience science in action in a variety of careers.

“These trips are brand new this year,” said Dr. Maddison Melchionna, Assistant Professor of Natural Science, who is helping to organize the events with Dr. Mark Lassiter, Dr. Jared Spencer, and Abby Leahy. “We’re trying to kind of marry all of the subdisciplines of biology, chemistry, microbiology, and environmental science and incorporate lab-based activities.”

Last month, a group of students visited Asheville to tour the factories and facilities of Silver-Line Plastics Corporation and learn more about the organic chemistry side of what goes into making pipes. Silver-Line is an industry leader in PVC (polyvinyl chloride), CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride), polyethylene, geothermal, and PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) plastic pipe and tubing.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Jaycee Beckham, a senior health sciences major from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. “We saw a lot of engineering as well, which wasn’t expected.”

“It was cool to see the stuff that we were learning in our textbooks being applied in real life to an industry,” added senior biology major Hannah Jarboe. “You can learn in a book how a certain reaction is done, but you don’t really appreciate it until you see the final product and everything that goes into it.”

While a second fall field trip to the Biltmore Estate Winery was unfortunately canceled, three more field trips are already planned for the second semester.

In January, students will tour the MSD wastewater treatment facility in Buncombe County to study water quality and microbial utility management. Additional trips planned include the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in February and the North Carolina Arboretum along Bent Creek in March to visit their experimental forest and study plant diversity.

Students interested in attending are encouraged to talk with their science professors.