Science Extravaganza draws 350 middle school kids to campus
Middle schoolers discover science is fun at Science Extravaganza.
- Designed an “air-powered car” using cardboard, straws, bottle caps, skewers and balloons,
- Practiced building the next amazing bridge,
- Explored and created simple motors,
- Visited the Club Fair and saw a variety of exciting projects created by college students within their organizations.
Engaging hundreds of youngsters in science activities throughout an all-day event was a major undertaking – about 120 student volunteers worked on SE. Students from the Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), alongside professionals from the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) were co-sponsors, and other student groups assisted. It was a broad-based effort, including the Society of Women Engineers; Alpha, Phi Omega; CELL (Community for Engineering Learning and Living); Engineers Without Borders; and the Engineering Ambassadors Program.
Engineering is “cool”
Hugo Quiroz, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, who co-chaired SE with fellow SOLES member Geraldo Reyes, believes that all the hard work on SE was well worth the effort. “There’s great potential among our youth, which often goes untapped. It’s so important to encourage and support them, and help them value college and the field of engineering.
“My goal was to make engineering look like a really cool thing to do,” continues Quiroz. “Often these students won’t even consider engineering because they dread math and science. Yet when thy see that engineering also requires imagination, creativity and communication, it expands their thinking.”
Adds Reyes, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, “We’re so privileged to live in Silicon Valley where possibilities are endless and dreams come true. I encouraged these students to work hard and take advantage of the possibilities they have here.”
Blanca Sanchez-Cruz, director of the MESA Engineering Program and faculty advisor for SE, is proud of what SJSU students have accomplished. Sanchez-Cruz also serves as the assistant director of student support programs for the Engineering Student Success Center. “Our students are committed to community outreach because they recognize the importance of getting children excited about science early,” she says. “Not only are we inspiring budding engineers with events like SE, we’re also helping them begin to feel comfortable on a college campus and excited about attending college someday.”
An earth science teacher from a middle school in Livermore comments in an email, “Science Extravaganza exceeded our expectations,” she says. “All students enjoyed themselves and learned a lot … One student said this was ‘the coolest thing I’ve ever been to.’ That’s high praise from a student!”
This comment from one student not only spells success for Hugo Quiroz – it’s kudos for all those who worked so hard on Science Extravaganza.