Local youth take part in STEM learning on campus

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College hosted a number of STEM-based youth events so far in 2019, including the Science Olympiad on Feb. 2, WOW! That’s Engineering on Feb. 23, and the Regional Science Fair on March 2.

In the Science Olympiad, teams of students from local intermediate and high schools collaborated in a number of events where they employed a range of skills, from design and prototyping, to technical writing, and chemistry lab skills. This year’s winners were Brown County Junior High School and New Albany High School in their respective divisions. The Olympiad was administered by 89 Ivy Tech faculty, staff, students, and community partners who volunteered to oversee and assist in the events.

Southwest Central Indiana Society of Women Engineers hosted their annual WOW! That’s Engineering event at Ivy Tech for the third consecutive year. Dozens of K-12 girls spent the day with female role models in STEM fields to learn about the skills involved in these areas and to get inspiration for future careers. Students engaged in a variety of problem solving activities like creating prosthetic legs with recycled materials, which was designed to simulate solving real life issues that occur for people around the world without access to prosthetics. The event was made possible with financial support from lead sponsor Cook Medical, along with volunteers from SWE, Cook , Ivy Tech, and the community. Through panels and speakers, parents were offered sessions in STEM education pathways, recognizing and fostering these skills, as well as opportunities on how to complete such degrees at Ivy Tech.

Ivy Tech faculty organized the Bloomington area’s science fair for 4th-12th grade students with participants from three school systems. Students used their own scientific research and analysis to develop materials to present to the judges and to answer questions.

“Students enjoyed showing the results of their hours of experimentation,” said Steven Arnold, Ph.D., Ivy Tech professor and department chair of life and physical sciences. “As judges, we enjoyed working with the next generation of our colleagues!”

Judges included Ivy Tech faculty, staff, and students as well as community partner scientists. Students that placed in their division advanced to the state competition, including one winning project: “What would happen if a black hole the size of a dime suddenly appeared?” Schools that are interested in participating in the regional science fair can contact Dr. Steve Arnold at sarnold@ivytech.edu.

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