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Engineering groups talk to Naperville children

May 1, 2012

STEM Night at Still Middle SchoolAdvancing the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries has become a central focus for NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.

NIU chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) recently hosted a STEM night at Still Middle School in Naperville.

Suma Rajashankar, faculty adviser for NIU’s SWE chapter, coordinated the event.

“The main focus for the event was to expose kids ages 6 to 13 to STEM through experiments and activities,” said Solomon Mason, president of NIU’s NSBE chapter. “We tried to engage the kids in fun activities and demos to get them excited about engineering.”

Squishy circuits, fruit batteries, balloon cars and aluminum boats were among the activities.

“The kids really enjoyed the event, and so did the college students,” Mason said.

STEM Night at Still Middle SchoolNSBE looks forward to expanding its STEM outreach, Mason said, especially in District 204. Group members have participated in other STEM outreach nights, he added, including one at Gregory Middle School in Naperville.

“We demonstrated the concept of electrolysis through hydro-cars,” he said.

Jeremy Benson of NIU STEM Outreach, helps school districts coordinate STEM nights. “The goal of the NIU STEM Outreach program is to help spread awareness and enthusiasm about the STEM fields,” Benson said. “We do this through interacting with the community through events held on campus and in the community.”