Zach Basselman, a 12- year-old sixth grader at Pettisville Elementary School, studied a little medicine, did some crime scene investigation, and took part in automotive design and engineering last summer.
His favorite part was the crime scene work, but he isn’t sure he would like to pursue CSI as a career.
“The CSI part was really cool. I kind of like that stuff, crime-solving and spies, stuff like that. I’m kind of a James Bond fan,” he said.
“But it seems like (CSI work) might be a little dangerous.
“Suppose someone had explosives. Suppose you had to search their house– what if you set something off, then, boom?”
Zach participated in the National Young Scholars program at the National 4-H Youth Convention Center in Chevy Chase, Md., Aug. 6- 10.
Jadea Wixom, his language arts teacher, nominated him for the program.
How was he chosen?
“By being a really good student and getting high grades,” Zach said.
That, and turning in most of his homework on time, he said.
He and his parents, Steve and Jennifer, decided to make a vacation out of the trip to Chevy Chase. They spent a few days touring the Washington, D.C., area before he started the program.
His parents dropped him off at the convention center, where he spent the day.
In the medical field, “We learned about some of the processes of absorption, part of the process of digestion.”
In crime scene investigating, “We tried to solve a crime. A valuable vase had been stolen, and we had to solve the crime.
“We had to measure blood drops to prove the suspect guilty or innocent.
“We tested what blood drops would look like when dropped from different heights, such as waist and head levels.”
They also looked at marks made on a piece of wood and tried to determine what object made them.
In the study of engineering, “we built tiny cars called a ‘jet toy.’
“We started with the chassis and added the wheels and the engine, which was a blown-up balloon.”
They would blow up the balloon, then try to “drive the cars.”
But since there were no controls on the cars, it was just a matter of turning them loose.
Basselman said his car did a little better than expected, but he said he really didn’t know what to expect.
“I learned a trick. You blow up the balloon, let a little bit out, then it goes straight,” he said.
Basselman said there were about 15 other students in the program.
He was able to become friends with some.
“Most were from Maryland, but there was someone from Tennessee,” he said.
He would recommend the program to others.
“It’s a great choice. It was really fun. I enjoyed it.”
But, he said, he hasn’t talked about it much with fellow students.
“I’m the kind of person, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m a better person” than someone else, he said.– David Pugh