UNH Stembassadors

By Olivia Caron | November 19, 2020

My freshman year of college at the University of New Hampshire I joined a club called STEMbassadors. I had received a mass email about the group and was looking for some clubs to join to gain some experience and meet people. STEMbassadors is a student outreach program for grades K-12, although it has a focus on elementary and middle school. The group mainly goes to rural areas of New Hampshire as these schools are less likely to have much exposure to STEM related material. There are a variety of activities we conduct with the kids including; Design A Theme Park which simulates a tower of terror like ride, where the students needs to use concepts like friction and air drag to keep their “passengers” in the ride. Another activity is Jenga which relates to civil engineering, the students need to build as large of a tower as possible on an unsteady surface and have it be able to withstand a load and vibration. Each time I go to a school I get to see extremely bright kids and honestly every time there are new ideas that they expose me to, nobody ever solves the problems in exactly the same way. The kids are always so excited to meet us because they see us as the older and cool college kids, and I think this also helps motivate them to do well in the activities as they are always really excited to show us their ideas. Often times, many of the kids don’t have much of an idea about what engineering is and by the end of the activity they are telling us how they want to be engineers when they grow up. It’s nice to be able to inspire the younger generation and help them realize what they enjoy doing. I wish I had a program like this in my elementary school because I think I would have realized how much I like hands on work and solving problems and would have had a better idea of what I wanted to do. There are also many girls in the program which is important because it shows little girls that they are capable of doing whatever they want even in a predominantly male profession. The following link provides a little more insight into STEMbassadors, feel free to reach out as the group is very receptive to going to new schools! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROIbhM_Hf9Q&list=PLp4VPQiirGhnOHmqPPgXB7EoUH7oBcNkk

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