COSAM News Articles 2023 October Destination STEM ignites a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in local middle school students

Destination STEM ignites a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in local middle school students

Published: 10/24/2023

By: Kristen Jackson


Destination STEM 2023

On Friday, October 20, the outreach office of the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) at Auburn University hosted Destination STEM in the Beard Eaves Memorial Coliseum. More than 900 students and educators from 15 Alabama schools spent the morning exploring STEM exhibits designed to ignite student curiosity in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Destination STEM is an annual program that offers hands-on experiences and exposure to STEM in areas above and beyond what local, under resourced schools can provide. Interactive exhibits led by more than 150 faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate volunteers enabled visiting students in grades six to nine to delve deeper into areas such as physics, biology, natural resources, geology, mathematics and much more.

Two students from Smiths Station Junior High School, Nala and Deanna, raved about the new Biomolecule Dome Exhibit hosted by Assistant Professor Dr. Rafael Bernardi and lab from the Department of Physics — an immersive experience where science comes to life by viewing molecules in 3D. “We loved the Biodome and learning about bacteria. It looked like the bacteria was coming right towards us! All we get to do at school is look in a microscope. This field trip allowed us to do so much more with science.”

The Biomolecule Dome was one of 35 different hands-on learning exhibits at Destination STEM. Every COSAM department was represented sharing information about their respective field of expertise. Other notable exhibitors include the Auburn University Natural History Museum, AMSTI education specialists, the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, and the MitoMobile.

Local area teachers agree it was a positive learning environment for their students. A resource teacher from Loachapoka Elementary School, Pepper Dellinger, stated “This was 100% a great experience. My students have limited exposure to interactive science. At Destination STEM they were able to put on gloves, touch and learn in a way they never would have been able to in the classroom.”

Lauren, a sixth-grade student at Loachapochoa Elementary School, said “I had fun. I really liked the exhibit where they moved iron with a magnet. It looked like a snowball.”

Destination STEM is committed to making a positive impact on the community. Through outreach initiatives participants had the opportunity to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for STEM with local schools that may not normally be around this kind of science – inspiring the next generation of scientists and mathematicians.



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