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Innovation Campus hosts STEM Discovery Fair for K-12 students

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Category: impact Video duration: Innovation Campus hosts STEM Discovery Fair for K-12 students
Students and parents attended a STEM Discovery Fair at Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria. The event was sponsored by the Innovation Campus, College of Engineering, Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, College Access Collaborative, and the College of Science. 
This was an opportunity to really introduce K-12 students to the wonderful, broad, big world of STEM. So we have people from the College of Science here to showcase and share what they do. We have students from the College of Engineering. We have community partners with tables displayed at the STEM Fair. We found out it was something that was somewhat close to where we live. We wanted to take advantage of it, since, you know, it's a 40 minute ride of even in a four hour ride to Blacksburg. I explained to him that he's going to have a chance to do some activities, learn more about engineering and sciences, and that's something he's really interested in. From the College of Science, we had a DNA activity where they actually got to create a model of the double helix of DNA, as well as extract DNA from strawberries. For engineering, we had a couple of hands on mini engineering design projects. So one of them was tall towers. So with the constraints of a limited number of materials, we wanted to see how tall they could actually get their tower. We had the egg drop, again you've got the constraints of here's the materials that you can use and then who can build a structure that's actually going to protect their egg when they fall. Early exposure to STEM activities is important because they're designed to provide a spark for students to be exposed to something they may not be aware of or be familiar with. And to get them excited about the opportunities in science, math, engineering, and technology. I like engineering because I like creating stuff and building stuff. And that's what I think engineering is. I learned that early exposure is a big deal. So when there's opportunities like this with Virginia Tech, you partner with these companies to have something free and nearby. It's kind of a easy decision, you'll take advantage of that. We want to let them know. We've got a whole lot of programs going on, both in Blacksburg and the Northern Virginia area, where those students can continue to learn about science, about college, about engineering through hands on activities. Our goal is to reach communities all around the Commonwealth and to help expose them to educational employment, enrichment opportunities. And it helps me to know that we are fulfilling our land grant institution by being out in the community and not requiring everyone all the time to come to where we are.