Mind Trekkers Perform at Dow STEM Festival
Walking on water, 60-second ice cream and objects floating in mid-air are just some of the marvels of science that can be seen at the 4th annual Dow Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival, powered by the nationally-known Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers. The Dow Chemical Company and Delta College are teaming up again with Mind Trekkers to present the Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival this Friday and Saturday at Delta College.
Mind Trekkers, a traveling, hands-on science and engineering show from Tech's Center for Pre-College Outreach, and Delta College faculty, staff and volunteers are working with more than 29 STEM partners to bring more than 150 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities to the festival.
Mind Trekkers has gained national acclaim for its high-energy demos of the science behind what looks like magic, like turning a few drops of liquid into huge foam gnomes or making ice cream in one minute using liquid nitrogen. Students will also have opportunities to explore STEM careers in the area as they meet with the many STEM professionals who are also participating in the event.
"Our goal is to create a spark and an environment of excitement and interest in science and technology," says Cody Kangas, director of Tech's Center for Pre-College Outreach.
This will be the fourth year Mind Trekkers has traveled to Delta College for a STEM festival. The group travels throughout the United States to schools, festivals and expos, to the delight of hundreds of thousands of students, parents and teachers.
Delta College Professor of Biology Cindy Drake has been instrumental in helping coordinate the Mind Trekkers visits.
"STEM festivals are an excellent opportunity for families to explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an engaging, exciting and informal environment," says Drake. Students of all ages can experience the "WOW" of STEM through fun, hands-on activities while also learning more about the many profitable STEM careers available in our area.
"Statistics show that fewer students are continuing to study STEM fields past middle school, while at the same time STEM careers are growing, causing a deficit of skilled workers in these areas" Drake goes on to say. "This event is an opportunity for students to re-engage in fields that have excellent forecasts for future growth and to see how much fun they can have while learning. They will have opportunities to see how STEM is connected to the arts as well. More than 8,000 middle school students and their families attended the last three festivals we held and we are excited to welcome many more this September."
Like the past three years, the first day of the festival will host middle-school students during morning and afternoon sessions. Festival organizers expect more than 3,500 middle-school students to attend on Friday. On Saturday, the second day of the event, the festival will be free and open to the public.
This year's STEM Festival premier sponsor is once again The Dow Chemical Company. Dow's educational mission is to build the workforce of tomorrow by supporting educational leaders, motivating student achievement, developing careers and collaborating with communities to transform education into a driver for innovation, manufacturing and economic prosperity.
"Events like the STEM Festival provide a perfect opportunity for students to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math while also fostering participation through hands on experiences," said Rich Wells, vice president of operations, Canada and USA North, and site director for Michigan Operations. "We support events like this to create an interest in and love for science that develops into great careers for these bright minds."
Midland Area Community Foundation, Saginaw Community Foundation, Bay Area Community Foundation, Michigan Department of Transportation, SC Johnson and Nexteer are also sponsors of the festival.