Many Tech Students Find Alternatives for Spring Break
College students on spring break — it’s a phrase that conjures up vivid images. Those of a certain age may think of Connie Francis pursuing Frank Gorshen in “Where the Boys Are,” while a younger generation may picture dancing in foam at Señor Frogs in Cancun.
Spring break may be synonymous with partying and decadence for some, but many students at Michigan Tech are traveling beyond those stereotypes, and in some cases the country, to use their time away from the classroom for the greater good.
Alternative spring breaks combine the suspension of studies with something extraordinary. There have been some pretty exciting excursions in the past and this year is no exception.
Again this year, members of the Tech chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools, are spreading the excitement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. A total of 11 Tech students, all but one from the state of Michigan, will visit Detroit-area middle schools March 6 – 8, while hosting Family Engineering Nights in the evenings.
Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at Michigan Tech, says the Family Engineering program was developed at Tech with several partner organizations.
“The goal is to engage, inspire and encourage elementary students to learn about and consider careers in engineering and science through hands-on activities with their parents at Family Engineering events,” Chadde explains. She says the program is designed to address the country’s need for an increased number and greater diversity of students skilled in math, science, technology and engineering. “The Family Engineering program targets six to 12-year olds and their parents.”
Also carrying the message of STEM over break will be Michigan Tech’s Mind Trekkers. For the third year, they will partner with San Jacinto Community College in Houston, Texas to put on a STEM festival for about 5,000 middle-school students.
Amanda McConnon, assistant director for the Center for Pre-College Outreach says the goal of the festival is to light a spark in young people. “We want to create an interest in the STEM fields within the students attending by showcasing hands-on and exciting demonstrations utilizing science, technology, engineering and math.”
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