News from the STEM Office
USA Science & Engineering Festival
Posted on: April 29, 2014 08:00 EDT by Sarah Durkin
A robot doing pushups. Underwater gliders. Hydraulic arms and fluid mechanics. Liquid nitrogen. Making slime. Building electrical circuits with playdough. Blowing up marshmallows. Making catapults. Pressing copper pennies. Drawing with robots. Creating whirligigs and windmills. Designing boats.
These were some of the things students and families got to see and do at the USNA STEM booth during the 3rd annual USA Science & Engineering Festival. The 3-day event, held April 25-27 at the Convention Center in Washington, DC, was attended by more than 325,000 visitors.
Visitors to the USNA STEM booth participated in a variety of hands-on activities designed to excite students about science, technology, engineering and math. 48 midshipmen and 8 faculty members staffed the booth during the course of the 3-day event, interacting with thousands of visitors of all ages.
The midshipmen volunteers excelled at explaining science, technology, engineering and math concepts to visitors using engaging activities. They also serve as role models and inspiration for youth who may contemplate a STEM career.
While at the Festival, MIDN 3/C Whitney Heer had a chance to meet the role model who inspired her to pursue a STEM education. “When I was little, I told my mom every Saturday morning that I wanted to meet Mrs. Frizzle [from The Magic School Bus],” said Heer, “Thanks to Sunday: Childhood dream = accomplished.”
Working at the Festival was a fulfilling experience for all of the midshipmen who were involved. “Volunteering at the Science Festival was my first experience with STEM outreach,” said MIDN 2/C Corey Grey, “Without a doubt it was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had thus far at the Academy. The interest and engagement of the children and adults as I explained different processes was truly humbling. STEM is on the rise and I'm glad to have even had a small part in it!”