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The Science Mill: Making The Invisible Visible

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Author: Jodie Gray | Category: Beyond The Bench | December 23, 2015

Volunteers from UTHSCSA’s Graduate Student Association visited the Hill Country Science Mill in preparation for Science Fiesta 2016.

The Science Mill is located in the historic town of Johnson City, the hometown of President Lyndon Johnson. 

The Science Mill is housed in a facility of equal historic intrigue --their building dates back to 1880 and was converted to a flour mill in 1901, and eventually evolved into a feed mill in the 1930’s. 

Visitors can see the intact silos from the facility’s days as a feed mill. After completing renovations to the property, the Science Mill opened its doors in February of 2015. 

The Science Mill is an interactive science center that is geared towards sparking interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in students between the ages of 11-18. 

Along with fostering fun science exploration through their hands-on exhibits, part of the Science Mill’s mission is to also introduce students to career paths they might not have considered before. 

After an exciting day at the Science Mill, visitors can log into the Explorer Zone to learn more about the science behind their favorite exhibits and the associated careers within those fields.

“One of our goals is to make the invisible visible,” enthusiastically stated founder Dr. Bob Elde. Dr. Elde’s vision for making the invisible visible is implemented through exciting exhibits such as the Cell Phone Disco which receives radio waves from nearby cellphones and displays surges of activity through a stunning light show. 

Each exhibit is equipped with a touch screen to provide visitors with a brief synopsis of the science behind each experiment and allow visitors to “favorite” each exhibit for reference later. 

In addition to being a family friendly destination, the Science Mill is ideal for school field trips because of its unique resources for continued learning well after the trip is over.

The Science Mill aims to participate in Science Fiesta on March 5, 2016 by hosting an interactive science area as part of the many festivities taking place in downtown San Antonio at La Villita. 

Interactive science activities will be geared towards middle to high school aged visitors at Science Fiesta, but explorers of all ages are welcome! 

Other Science Fiesta activities will include a presentation and book signing by journalist David Epstein (author of The Sports Gene), science research posters geared towards the community audience, a panel discussion on science policy, and science-themed art display. 

Science Fiesta is also hosting the World Record Attempt the week leading up to Science Fiesta to break the record for the world’s largest periodic table.

The goal of Science Fiesta is to make San Antonio a science aware community and expose non-science community members to the unparalleled resources and facilities San Antonio is home to. 

Inquires about Science Fiesta may be directed to

This article was written by Jodie Gray, student ambassador for the Graduate Student Association.

The "Beyond The Bench" series features articles written by students and postdoctoral fellows at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. 

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