Isabel Cobb could never have imagined she’d end up here, in Atchison, Kansas, teaching practical science to budding young minds on the campus of Benedictine College.

While dressed as a pirate.

That served as something of a Halloweeny afterthought at Friday Night’s annual Spooky Science Fun Bash, an event on campus designed to allow the entire Westerman Hall science, technology, engineering and mathematics cadre of BC students to show off what they are learning to their younger peers, ranging from toddlers to eighth graders.

Cobb, who hails from Highland Village, Texas, a Dallas suburb, is in her freshman year studying the combined fields of mechanical engineering and astronomy, having been inspired by the world around her and the science that is crucial to understanding it from a young age.

“It blows my mind that I am actually here,” Cobb said. “It seems like it was just a few months ago that I was in high school, watching the occasional group of university students come to present about something and thinking, ‘Yeah, college is just so far away.’

“And now it’s not. Now I’m here in Atchison, now I’m one of those college students, with the opportunity to inspire young minds, teach science to little kids. It’s great.”

Daniel Klingele, the oldest among several relatives accompanying his grandmother, Tricia Grosdidier of Eudora, to campus on Friday night to study the sciences, found the event to be a really cool experience. Unlike most of the kids, he didn’t wear a costume, but the Halloween theme took a back seat to interests in practical science.

“Like, they do a lot of cool stuff,” Klingele said. “Especially when they blow things up!”

Klingele isn’t certain where he will end up in his many years to come, but he has a particular interest in robotics, and got to talk to some engineering students on Friday night at Benedictine. The main attraction, though, remains distinct. Explosive, one might say.

“It was so cool when they used natural gas to blow stuff up,” Klingele said.

According to Benedictine College, more than a dozen displays were spread throughout every floor of Westerman Hall, along with snacks, drinks and treats for the children. Students volunteered as part of a casual interest in science education. Cobb found it to be a inspiring experience for her future career in a scientific field.

“It just gets them interested, which is so cool,” she said. “I had a similar experience when I was young, that’s when I decided I wanted to get into STEM. I just love seeing their faces light up when they watch this cool stuff happen.”

For more information, call Benedictine College at 913-367-5340.

Marcus Clem can be reached via or @AdAstraGorilla on Twitter.

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