Annual STEM Day takes over Lawson Center

FAMU STEM Day entrance at Al Lawson. Photo courtesy: Chelsie Ross

Middle and high school students filled the Lawson Center Saturday for Florida A&M University’s eighth annual STEM Day.

The event took place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and had many different types of vendors. There were tables where representatives told students information regarding STEM, tables with interactive experiments that students could try and areas where students could learn more information about admissions at FAMU and scholarships.

Amanda Mills, the outreach coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, was one of the many representatives who was at the event. She talked to students about the importance of tortoises and even had a live one named Scooter for students to pet.

“We do a lot of outreach. We’re getting the word out about their importance. We’re here to spark interest in kids and see if they want to learn a little bit about this pretty special species,” she said.

She also explained how the event had been a good opportunity.

“It’s been great. There’s lots of kids interested,” she said.

Scooter, from FWC’s booth. Photo courtesy: Chelsie Ross

Along with Mills, Julius Jones, a second-year pre-engineering student at FAMU who has volunteered for STEM Day for the past two years, described the importance of STEM within the Black community.

“This is a chance to expose students to STEM. I believe as Black people we are kind of like the foundation of this nation, but we’re underrepresented in STEM fields. So having this is important and I think it’s great,” he said.

In addition to the vendors, there were food options at the event for students such as hot dogs, nachos, snow cones and pudding. There was also a performance by the band, a keynote speaker and a presentation for parents to learn about how to be college ready.

Veronica Reynolds who is a parent of a sixth grader in Wakulla County and a FAMU alumna, described her time at the event and what she enjoyed.

“I think the day has been exceptionally well. Especially sitting on the parent forum for parents that are not quite in high school yet and gave us things to prepare for,” she said.

She also explained the importance of STEM and the value of the event.

“I think it has shed a bigger light on STEM. I think on a higher level, learning everyday world activities has some type of STEM involved in it and this breaks it down a bit further as to the whole complexity. We can’t function without it,” she said.

The eighth annual STEM Day was the final event in FAMU’s STEM Week. It was sponsored by FAMU’s office of STEM outreach and the STEM center for the advancement of learning, achievement and research. The hope was to get middle and high school students engaged in the STEM field.