Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers Partners with National Science Festivals

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Michigan Technological University’s Mind Trekkers and Science Spark—creator of the USA Science & Engineering Festival—have joined forces to bring the magic and mystery of science and engineering to thousands more young people across the nation.  As partners, Mind Trekkers—a traveling science and engineering show—will bring its hands-on activities to three major science expos this year, leading up to the 3rd national USA Science & Engineering Festival in April 2014 in Washington, DC.

"One of the most important challenges of our time is interesting young people in pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers," said Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz.  "Mind Trekkers and the USA Science & Engineering Festival have developed a winning formula for doing just that, and we're delighted that they have decided to partner to extend their reach nationwide."

Mind Trekkers took its science road show to the first USA Science & Engineering Festival in 2010.  Tech staff and student volunteers demonstrated principles of physics, chemistry and engineering with dozens of demos that drew crowds of children and adults alike to their booth on Washington’s National Mall.  They returned to the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival in 2012.  

Then Larry Bock, founder and head of the national festival, started looking for ways to reach to other STEM-focused festivals around the nation.  Impressed with Mind Trekker’s track record of reaching more than one million students and parents at 40 STEM events, he suggested the university group and the festival combine forces.

"Michigan Tech has long been an innovative leader for STEM education and outreach," says Bock. He adds, "We are excited about this new partnership supporting the University's Mind Trekkers initiative in their efforts to tour the country bringing science and technology education to children everywhere."

The first Mind Trekkers’ partnership event will be the national Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia July 15-23.  More than 50,000 Scouts and guests are expected to visit the Mind Trekkers’ tent, part of the Jamboree’s Technology Quest.  

It’s an encore performance for Michigan Tech. Mind Trekkers was a hit at the last Boy Scout Jamboree in 2010.

“The goal of both of our organizations is to ignite each student’s passion to discover the science behind the mystery of what they are experiencing in an informal STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) setting,” says Steve Patchin, founder and head of Mind Trekkers at Michigan Tech.  “We both believe that the best way to unlock this passion is by creating a high-energy, non-traditional learning environment where each student’s natural inquisitiveness generates an unbridled desire to search for answers to what they can’t explain.”

The Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers will also take their science and engineering road show to the Bay Area Science Festival in San Francisco in October, and the Philadelphia Science Festival in Philadelphia and the Fairfax County Schools Festival in Virginia in April 2014, all leading up to the USA Science & Engineering Festival itself in Washington, DC, in April 2014.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.