Engineering students mentor hundreds at Science Extravaganza

Local middle-school students arrived at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering for "Science Extravaganza" earlier this spring. The event was hosted by SJSU’s chapters of Society of Latino Engineers (SOLES) and MESA Engineering Program (MEP), organizations that dedicated much of their time and energy to create an inspiring, interactive day of learning for the next generation of engineers. This marks the event’s nineteenth year, and it shows no signs of slowing in growth or popularity.

Group at Event
Photo by Blanca Sanchez-Cruz

About 350 students came to enjoy the Extravaganza’s characteristic workshops, demonstrations, and presentations. Among the attendees were 120 engineering student volunteers, all of whom led and served as role models to a group of students, as well as 50 representatives from industry partners who were energized by this great outreach opportunity. Additionally, many teachers attended to chaperone students.

"The workshops were top quality, volunteers were excellent, and the kids learned a bunch while having a great time," said Efrain Hernandez, a local teacher. "We’re already looking forward to next year!"

Joaquin Olivares, the event’s co-chair, noted that of the sixteen workshops, the most popular workshops were "Making Rockets with Lockheed Martin," "Extracting Strawberry DNA with Genentech," and "Magnetic Rollercoasters with Stryker."

Students Science
Photo by Blanca Sanchez-Cruz

A dedicated member of SOLES who takes the organization’s mission to heart, Olivares would like the SJSU community to know that even after the event’s end, the outreach continues.

"As an organization we believe that any student regardless of background can excel in a STEM career," said Olivares. "Science Extravaganza is a one-day event in the spring, but we also prepare in the fall by fundraising and presenting to 2,000 middle school students in their own classrooms. It’s all about inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders directly."