EAST students present on STEM conference panel


EAST students present on STEM conference panel
2/29/2016 1:23:34 PM

Students from the EAST program at Greenbrier High School joined a panel discussing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at a conference presented by the Arkansas STEM Coalition and the University of Central Arkansas on Feb. 25, intended to bring schools, business and other community members together to talk STEM partnerships.

The students presented in conjunction with Scott Lacey, owner and engineer at Lacey Fire Protection Engineering, who recently partnered with the program to develop a fire alarm sealed in a solid case. The design was intended for use in environments such as food processing plants, where a traditional fire alarm, which would usually have grooves or other uneven surfaces called “trap points,” could cause contamination.


The students, Aaron Lombardi, Sara Hoopchuk and Lauren Bellamy, said they were interested to hear various approaches to STEM education and to be advocates for it.


“I think it’s cool we’re allowed to come here and speak, because a student perspective is great. We’re not just interested in social media and going on the Internet. We do actually want to do outreach programs for the STEM careers and actually do things with STEM,” said Sara, who has worked on projects promoting stroke awareness, CPR training and veterans recognition.


Lauren, who plans to be a pharmacist and worked on a project to use garden light solar panels to recharge classroom 9V batteries, said it’s important to talk about and encourage others to be interested in STEM subjects, particularly female students.


“I’ve always loved math and science, that’s been my focus in school. But, I’ve noticed a bunch of my friends aren’t interested in science and math, so I’m glad we’re having this conference and getting business and education together to talk about about STEM.”


Aaron, who designed the fire alarms for Stacey, said EAST provides an invaluable augmentation to classroom learning by offering a hands-on approach to STEM topics.


“I don’t see EAST as a replacement for a traditional classroom: math, physics, English, that’s all important. But it’s a great supplement and it provides students with skills they don’t get in other classrooms, and those skills are really important in the real world. It allows students to go into any area related to technology or service, pretty much whatever they want to do. They can explore interests and try different things in EAST, and they do it while working on projects that are actually important.”


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