Engineering students from the University of the District of Columbia led ASME’s participation at the second annual Smithsonian/National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) STEM Day, held recently in Washington, D.C.
Representatives of the ASME K-12 STEM Programs staff joined forces with these sophomore students to champion STEM and the power of thinking like an engineer at the exhibition, which was held on Feb. 22 in conjunction with Engineers Week.
One of the engineering students who participated, Kymani Brown, said his main incentive for joining in these types of activities was witnessing the enthusiasm of the children as they make their way through the event. “As a volunteer, my motivation comes from seeing the pure joy that I place on every individual face,” said Brown, who is chair of the newly established ASME student section at UDC. “My biggest take away was how bright the future is.”
More than 300 students, parents and visitors stopped by the ASME exhibit to take part in hands-on activities and share knowledge related to developing problem-solving skills. “The part that stood out the most is that the students understood basic engineering concepts and never even realized it,” observed UDC student Glacia Martin, whose professional goal is to become a clinical engineer. “Students were having fun figuring out how to win the games and activities. They could explain their strategy to win, and they marveled when they were told that they just solved an engineering problem.”
“STEM lessons help students deepen their understanding of important science and mathematics concepts, which will forever be a part of our future,” added Steffi Graham, who is pursuing a major in information technology. “I believe we changed career paths today.”
NMAAHC STEM Day, which was sponsored by the Dow Chemical Company, is designed to celebrate the history of African Americans in engineering as well as their contributions to the development of ground-breaking technology. Keynote presentations included NASA engineer and educator Aprille Ericsson and Lonnie Johnson, acclaimed inventor and former NASA and Air Force engineer. The event also featured sessions conveying the contributions of African American engineers, interactive STEM activities presented by local and national STEM organizations, and a book corner where students were able to find out more about STEM fields.
For more information on ASME’s K-12 STEM education programs, contact Patti Jo Rosenthal, manager, K-12 Programs, ASME, firstname.lastname@example.org.