STEAM Day returns to Radford University Carilion and Roanoke

Sallie Beth Johnson, Ph.D., plays a healthcare careers game with STEAM Day participants.

More than 100 students from local public, private and home-school education arrived at Radford University Carilion on Oct. 28, ready to be immersed in STEAM Day 2022. These eager students engaged with faculty and staff in several science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) areas. STEAM Day was founded to celebrate education and careers in these specific subject areas, and Radford University Carilion (RUC) was one of several educational institutions welcoming local students of all ages.

“Being able to have the students come into a professional environment and see the actual tools that they would be using if they choose to go into one of these healthcare disciplines is invaluable,” said Glen Mayhew, D.H.Sc., interim associate provost for RUC. “What they are seeing during STEAM Day is an experience they can’t get in the classroom environment.”

In the respiratory therapy lab, Program Director Chase Poulsen, Ph.D., showed the students how respiration worked with a normal set of pig lungs. He then repeated the process with a set that had been exposed to cigarette smoke, showing the dangerous effects of smoking.

In the medical laboratory science lab, RUC students talked to the younger students about how laboratory scientists handle and process samples to help other healthcare professionals diagnose and treat patients.


Arco Paul, Ph.D., demonstrates brain-scanning technology.


Medical laboratory sciences students talk to participants at STEAM Day 2022.


Stephen Glass, Ph.D., in the physical therapy department’s Motion Analysis Laboratory.

Physical therapy faculty, including Stephen Glass, Ph.D., and Arco Paul, Ph.D., showed the students how advanced technology can help clients recover from injuries. These treatment options included devices like brain scanning instruments and the Motion Analysis Laboratory, which is dedicated to the study of human movement and forces applied to the body.

Public Health and Healthcare Leadership Department Director Sallie Beth Johnson, Ph.D., played a game with students where they matched skills with job titles, demonstrating the variety of jobs available in healthcare that go beyond labs and clinical areas.

Chase Poulsen, Ph.D., demonstrates respiration with pig lungs in the respiratory therapy lab.

STEAM Day has been taking place in the region since 2016, but organizers had to take a break from in-person events beginning in 2019 due to the COVID pandemic. Between 2019 and 2021, the event was virtual. This is the first year students have been able to visit locations in person again.

“Seeing the participants in STEAM Day return to RUC is very satisfying,” Mayhew said. “Giving them the opportunity to see what careers are available to them in healthcare and other industries can open up a whole new world for them. That’s why this day is so important and should continue for years to come.”

In addition to RUC, students visited the Roanoke Higher Education Center, the Virginia Tech Ware Lab, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Taubman Museum of Art,  the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the Clean Valley Council and Virginia Western Community College.

Nov 3, 2022
Mark Lambert