Tallahassee Students ‘Unlock the Mysteries of Science’

Students experiment with dry ice during STEM Day on FAMU's campus.
Photo Credit: Yulita Howard

Florida A&M University's College of Science and Technology (CST) held their third annual STEM day outreach activity Saturday in the Perry-Paige Auditorium.

According to CST, STEM Day is designed to increase the interest of children pursuing a career in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

This year’s theme was “Crack The Code: Unlocking the Mysteries of Science.” From 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 7th-12th grade students had the privilege of discovering the mysteries of science with hands-on activities and experiments.

The day included guest speakers, exciting demos and giveaway prizes. Award-winning mentor, inventor and former engineer professor Calvin Mackie, Ph.D., served as the keynote speaker.

Mackie said it felt wonderful participating.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to stand before 300 kids and inspire them to live the possible dream of becoming a science engineer in the future, that's always great and amazing,” Mackie said.

Tallahassee resident and grandmother of two, Evelyn Haynes, expressed how she and her grandsons enjoyed Stem Day and looked forward to attending similar events more often. 

“The event was outstanding. It really was a first-class presentation, and it was so inviting,” Haynes said. She added Mackie was amazing and there should be more events like this in the community.

As students engaged in numerous scientific experiments, parents were invited to the parent session and panel discussion.

According to CST, the number of minorities engaging in IT-related jobs is low compared to other demographic groups, which creates a unique opportunity for advancement and creativity.

Another speaker, Terry Morris, FAMU alumni who serves as a chair for the FAMU CIS Department Advisory Board suggested why information technology would be a great choice for children.

“We want students to have great opportunities, we make scientists here but you guys (parents) play a major part in that,” Morris said.

Morris continued the discussion with steps to ensure children are ready for a challenge and how to exceed expectations.

During the parent session and panel discussion, a video showcased the state-of-the-art classrooms that incorporate active learning.

Parent and FAMU alumna Natasha Clayton, participated in the event with her son, godson and volunteers. She said even though the children were too young to participate, they still had a good time.

“This year they were too young to be considered participants but they still wanted to attend. Working the event, you still gain some exposure and in result they enjoyed it. This year was great, and next year they’ll be participating,” Clayton said.

Clayton also said she was happy to see the amount of volunteers present at this event and that she actually learned something.

Second-year computer engineering student Frederic Triplet was one of the many student volunteers.

“One of my mentors told me how big of an event this was for FAMU, so I thought it’d be a great way to give back to FAMU. I've seen a lot of younger people I've interacted with, just from being a Tallahassee local (and) getting into the STEM field, and it’s a good thing to see,” Triplet said.

CST Dean Maurice Edington, Ph.D., gave insight on the event and it’s success.

“This is one of our signature events that we created to have an outreach presence in the community. We wanted FAMU to increase it’s footprint in the local community,” Edington said.

Edington explained each year participation has gotten bigger and bigger. This year had over 300 students, and more parents are interested in getting their children involved.