Second STEM Expo inspires future scientists, engineers

By MARCENE ROBINSON

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Acker Scholar, Freddy Cazares, teaches middle school students about the respiratory system and helps them build their own lung model using a plastic bottle, Play-Doh, and balloons.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – For a day, Western New York high school students stepped into the shoes of engineers and scientists at the 2016 University at Buffalo STEM Expo.

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Using K’nex pieces and a scoring budget sheet, students designed bridges that were tested to see how much weight they could withstand and how much profit they made based on their design.

The second annual event drew nearly 100 students from Buffalo Public Schools and the Western New York area to the UB campus where they built hovercrafts, competed in bridge building competitions and made their own slime.

Held on April 23rd, the program is sponsored by the UB Science and Technology Enrichment Program (STEP); the UB Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Programs (UB-STEM); and the Daniel Acker Scholars Program.

The program aims to introduce underrepresented and low-income students of color to STEM fields and stir interest in pursuing the fields in college.

Throughout the day, students also created their own model of the human lung, crafted flood alarm systems, learned how to write their names in binary code, among other STEM activities. The activities were led by undergraduate students in the UB-STEM and Acker programs.

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Acker Scholar, Clinton Oka, teaching students about binary coding using pony beads.

“The STEM Expo is important because it gives us college students the opportunity to connect and reach out to younger students who have their whole future ahead of them,” says Clinton Oka, a sophomore computer science major.

“Bridging the gap between adulthood and youth, we students have the ability to view things at a level closer to the kids, compared to some adult figures and teachers. Exposing the students to the fun aspects of being a STEM major will help their academics because their interest for those subjects will be greater.”

 

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