Chowan University participates in NC Science Festival Kick-off
Chowan University partnered with the University of North Carolina (UNC) Morehead Planetarium and Science Center on Friday, September 21, prior to the Gates County High School football game to demonstrate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) activities during the STEM Street Fair.
Chowan students Tiffany Sharp, Shatay Deshields, and Ronald Howard, as well as Director of Admissions Scott Parker, joined Drs. Brian Duffy and Bo Dame of the Biology Department to demonstrate STEM activities. Chowan Biology representatives conducted demonstrations on soda can density, balloon-powered cars, Cartesian diver bottles, and slime making – all with homemade materials and suitable for all ages.
In addition to demonstrations, the Chowan Biology Department used a balance with various objects to discuss weights and a plasma globe to investigate voltage and current without causing harm. The Biology Department selected STEM-based learning activities that anyone can do at home to show that STEM is not limited to a laboratory and that it can excite and educate at the same time.
Dr. Duffy said, “STEM is important for every person, no matter the age, and it should not be limited to any one person or group. Research has shown that involvement in STEM has positive impacts on student success in and outside the classroom.” He continued, “I am so glad the Morehead Science Center and Planetarium invited Chowan to participate in such an event to have the opportunity to display STEM with our local community.”
The STEM Street Fair was the kick-off event to celebrate the long-term STEM initiative UNC launched in partnership with Gates County public schools. Booths were set up with hands-on activities, and Science On Your Street, UNC’s new mobile maker lab was present. Chowan was one of several participants to take part with the hope to engage and excite students about STEM. The kick-off leads up to the NC Science Festival, a statewide initiative in April 2019. Over 400 events for all ages will take place across the state for the entire month.
The NC Science Festival will spread science education through exciting, fun, hands-on science events. This STEM education initiative develops critical thinking and allows students to interact with demonstrations, exploring subjects they may not have experienced before. According to the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), the need for stronger science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills applies to both STEM and non-STEM occupations.
Careers in STEM have increased at a rate of 17 percent since 2008, compared to other career fields that have increased at a rate of only 9.8 percent, according to the U. S. Department of Commerce. A national effort was launched to focus on STEM education and influence young minds early enough that they might continue an interest in the STEM field and ultimately choose a STEM career path. STEM education also helps narrow the gap to ethnic and gender representation in the math and science field by providing early education to students of all genders and backgrounds and a chance to discover a passion in the ever-growing field.