STEM Open House 2013

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The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grant hosted its second annual STEM Open House last Friday.

The event was open to the public and included club booths, student presentations, program tours, scavenger hunts, telescope viewings and various demonstrations on STEM related topics.

The open house was held to inform the community and students about STEM majors, department programs and activities. It also provided an opportunity to fundraise for a scholarship, courtesy of Frantone’s.

Vangie Reichwein, the STEM program assistant and project coordinator for the HSI STEM Grant said the event had been planned since June.

The announcement of the winners for the STEM Wars competition was cancelled.

Chemistry professor Jeff Bradbury, one of the organizers, said that there were only three submissions and this is not enough to call it a competition.

“[STEM Wars] is not dead. It’s postponed,” he said. He hopes that next year there are more entries.

According to Reichwein, the grant has helped with funding more classes and providing more resources for students.

“We’re starting something new in this STEM grant. We are supporting the Success Center tremendously with tutors. We have also hired this semester’s tutors in the classrooms,” she said, “I take (students) up to class and encourage them to get into classes. Everybody on the grant does. Everybody works with the students.”

Iris Aguilar, a former Cerritos College student, was among the volunteers that participated. “I just kind of showed up today. I just came and volunteered,” she said.

“STEM is basically what the future is going to be all about. All the technology that we’re going to be developing in the next few years (is) going to be coming from this generation.

“Just because we’re at a community college doesn’t mean that we’re not going to make a difference someday. For a lot of people, it’s a real strong stepping stone. We should encourage more students,” Aguilar said.

Christian Villareal, a math major, was also an open house volunteer who distributed out flyers and answered questions.

He encouraged more students to join a STEM major.

“I think it’s just very important to have more of us out there and educate our students that there are a lot of great fields in here,” he said, “I think it’s an excellent field. There’s a high demand for it and so many exciting things in the way we’re progressing with the world.”

Anahy Palafox, geography major, works with earth science and physics departments and also volunteered for the event.

“People who like science can just experience all of this. I’ve noticed that [the departments] have gotten more funding, so people are able to do more things like this open house, [which] gives a lot of students information. I think it’s a really good thing.

“[At this open house], like I said, they can get the information they need for various majors in STEM. Try it out. Take a class and see if you like it or not. It’s going to fill a general education requirement anyway,” Palafox said.

The Geology Club had it’s own booth at the event. Olivia Hinton and Javier Lopez, both geology majors, were there to promote their club and educate others on geology.

“Once I started taking science classes and got to know people, it’s the best,” Hinton said. “Knowing people in science and joining the club is the way to go if you’re a science major.”

Lopez said he decided to volunteer for the event because he wanted to try something new.

He promoted his major and science in general to others and said, “I would tell [students] to just go for it and really find out what they like about it. Get to know people and peers so you can share ideas and learn from each other.”

Reichwein said that 250 people attended last year’s open house and an estimated 390 people attended this year’s open house.

“I’m very happy with the amount of people that came as well as the positive remarks about the event,” she said.

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