Sixth-Graders Get Their Geek on at SJC STEM Event

A Mind Trekker volunteer demonstrates an experiment involving aesthetically burning money.

Samantha Vasquez/San Jacinto Times

A Mind Trekker volunteer demonstrates an experiment involving aesthetically burning money.

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Although it was a rainy and cloudy Thursday night, sixth-grade students did not let Mother Nature stop them from having fun. “Burning Money,” “Woosh Bottle,” and “Fire Tornados” were some of the many interactive experiments featured at San Jacinto College’s Adventures in STEM festival, that took place March 12 and 13 on Central campus.
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives Ludith Gonzalez, Project Coordinator for San Jac’s Great Jobs=Great Careers=Your Future initiative, said the STEM festival brings science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to young students to encourage their interest in those subjects with the assistance of the Mind Trekkers team.
“The Mind Trekkers group is a group of undergraduate and graduate Engineering students from Michigan Technological University (MTU) who help facilitate the experiments and help us run the show,” Gonzalez said.
Furthermore, she added, the event also aims to promote and introduce students to possible employment pathways in the corresponding fields.
“The event is to help encourage our students about all of the career opportunities in the STEM area,” Gonzalez said. “STEM education is vital to our future—the future of our country, the future of our region and the future of our children.
This was the first time, Gonzalez added, the event was held in Texas. “We are proud to be the pioneers,” she said. “…maybe we can make it a yearly or bi-yearly event for our communities.”
Meanwhile, MTU student and volunteer Jacob Cavins said he enjoys working with Mind Trekkers.
“Being able to come on one of these trips in the middle of the semester; it’s kind of rejuvenating to see all the excitement and energy that all these little kids have,” he said.
In addition, Cavins said he likes to contribute to the experiments and witness, first-hand, the enthusiasm they generate among the students.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said, “to get involved and also get younger kids involved and super excited about science.”
However, Cavins said he does not just enjoy the children’s reactions; adults become just as mesmerized.
“I see time and time again at these events, I’ll be talking to the kids, but their parents are like ’Oh, my God, how does that (happen). The parent gets more excited than the students,” he said. “’I’m trying to teach your kid about this and you’re getting excited about it.’ That’s awesome.”
San Jac freshman and STEM student Shane Patrick attended the festival and said he was excited to learn more about his future career.
“It’s pretty cool,” Shane said, “being a science major and seeing all this stuff that actually happens, and what you’re going to be doing in work.”

Bolded or omitted text indicates a correction made after the issue’s publication date.