Mindtrekkers Back for STEM Event

San Jacinto College Central Campus welcomed back Mind Trekkers for the 2016 Adventures in STEM Science Festival March 10 and 11. The event is geared toward area sixth-graders, who are treated to a slew of activities while the public was free to visit Mind Trekkers Family Night March 10.

Mind Trekkers is an interactive travelling road show featuring STEM-oriented activities and demonstrations. The troupe was created in 2010 by students at Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Center for Pre-College Outreach, in response to a report showing a shortage of STEM-educated professionals in the United States.

According to the group’s website, “Michigan Technological University’s Mind Trekkers STEM Road Shows bring the WOW! of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the hands and minds of K-12 students under the inspirational guidance of the Mind Trekkers team consisting of undergraduate and graduate students.”

Last year was San Jac’s first time to host the Mind Trekkers road show, which according to organizer Ludith Gonzalez, garnered enormous interest from the larger community.

“During the two days, we shared our excitement about STEM with better than 7,000 San Jac students, faculty, and area families,” she said.
Furthermore, Gonzales said she hopes this year’s event attracts a greater number of attendees to expose more budding scientists, technology students, and mathematicians to the wonders of the three important fields.

“STEM education is vital to our future – the future of our country, the future of our region and the future of our children,” Gonzales said. “STEM is everywhere; it shapes our everyday experiences.”

The Mind Trekker team is made up of MTU undergraduates and graduates that interact with attendees, both young and old, whether through hands-on activities in 3D technology or using air flow to create a hovercraft and making it float on air.

“There is something for ALL to taste, touch, smell, feel and learn from,” Gonzales said
Meanwhile, Mind Trekkers coordinator Jannah Brandt said the road show’s impact is farther reaching than a single afternoon of fun activities.

“According to data from pre-and post-surveys, students who attend Mind Trekkers events are more interested in STEM fields and in going to college than they were before the event,” she said.

Furthermore, Brandt noted she feels especially proud to be a part of the Mind Trekkers team because, in addition to inspiring the next generation of scientists and mathematicians, they are also shattering stereotypes associated with STEM professionals.

She added, “You don’t have to be nerdy to like science.”