Stevens Hosts Hoboken 6th Graders for “STEM-a-thon”
(photo via twitter @StevensConnects)
BREAKING NEWS: Science is cool.
Seriously—it’s not just “sorta neat,” or “kinda interesting.” Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (a.k.a. STEM) are actually cool—as in “popular.”
Don’t believe us? Well then you weren’t in the room at Stevens Institute of Technology, as hundreds of screaming Hoboken 6th Graders made it abundantly clear that STEM is the hip new thing with the tweens.
STEM-a-thon: A Day of Innovation for Hoboken’s 6th Grade Students brought together 6th grade students from all of Hoboken’s public, private, and charter schools for a little friendly competition and collaboration on a variety of scientifically inclined projects.
“One of the key goals of this event is to engage and inspire Hoboken’s budding scientists and engineers in the fun and excitement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Dr. Nariman Farvardin, president of Stevens Institute of Technology. “STEM is everywhere, in iPhones and video games, in medical advances and in innovations that make our City more secure and resilient in future storms like Hurricane Sandy. We hope that many of the students who attend the STEM-a-thon will consider pursuing STEM degrees and careers.”
Students from Hoboken Public Schools (Calabro, Connors, Wallace), All Saints Episcopal Day School, Elysian Charter School of Hoboken, Hoboken Charter School, Hoboken Catholic Academy, Hola Hoboken, The Hudson School, The Mustard Seed School, Stevens Cooperative School all came together under one roof—when they weren’t outside firing off rockets. Either way, they had a blast.
Hoboken Family Alliance, (HFA) was on hand coordinating the event. “As one of the city’s only not-for-profit organizations that strives to develop programs to unify our community, we are excited to partner with Stevens Institute of Technology to bring this program to all of our schools and engage students to solve fun STEM challenges in an academic setting,” said HFA Director of Finance, Ms. Rachel Matthai.
“I had a very good day,” said student Sam May. “The Bottle Rocket was the best—ours flew straight up into the air, then we modified it to land further away.” In their quest for Bottle Rocket glory, Sam learned a lot about the ol’ drawing board. “If something isn’t working, the key is to design, rebuild, design, rebuild—until you get it right.”
Of course there’s always the “if it ain’t broke” principle. “Our rocket was doing fine until we overdid it,” says student Sara Leong. “We had it working well, then we added more wings and stuff.” The STEM from this apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Sara’s father works as an engineer. “This was really exciting, and I want to learn more about these things so I can do work like my father does,” she said.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer closed out the ceremony, thanking the students for their enthusiasm and reinforcing the rich history of innovation and need for quality engineering right here in Hoboken.
STEM-a-thon is one of several outreach programs sponsored by Stevens that directly involve students from the Hoboken community.