On Saturday April 25th, community members in Hunting Park saw science come alive through demonstrations and activities geared toward sparking the support and study of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
Students from Jefferson University taught community members about blood flow and living for a healthy heart. Drexel University students showed kids of all ages what fun the chemical reaction between sodium bicarbonate (antacid) and a little bit of water can be. Young students raced solar model cars, and if something went awry, they learned how to think on their feet to solve their mechanical problems.
As it is one of our greatest commitments to bring STEM education to the North Philadelphia Latino community, Esperanza College was there to help students build mini straw launchers to demonstrate how potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy. Nilsa Graciani, Esperanza College Program Director, spoke to Philly.com’s Daily News on Saturday to explain the importance of these events to the Hispanic community:
“The percentage of Hispanics in the STEM field is very limited, but the Hispanic population is growing at a fast pace,” said Graciani, an organic chemist who became an educator after years in the pharmaceutical industry.
“Kids are born inquisitive,” she said. “They want to learn and to discover but by time they reach middle school, they start to pull away from math and science. They have a scary image of science. They think it’s too hard, too boring and only for nerds.”
Graciani hopes that she and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers can change that. “I can tell young people, ‘I’m Hispanic like you. I’m a good example of ‘Yes, you can do it!’ ”
See full article here.
The combined efforts of all of the passionate volunteers and those who show up to learn or bring their children to expose them to the wonderful world of science are what makes events like these work, not just to create a successful event, but to be a catalyst for future scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who otherwise may have never received this kind of exposure to the STEM fields.
Discovery Day at Hunting Park was organized by the Hunting Park Community Science Network and underwritten by Esperanza, Inc. Discovery Day venue partner: Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, presenting sponsor: Dow Chemical, created by Philadelphia’s science, cultural, and environmental institutions, and organized by The Franklin Institute.
The Hunting Park Community Science Network is a collaboration of APM, ASPIRA, Inc., Ayuda Community Center, Edison High School, Esperanza, Inc., Esperanza College, Historic Fair Hill, Hunting Park United, the Lenfest Center, The Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology, and Zion Baptist Church.
Special thanks to the live performances by LaSalle University Students and AMLA’s Latin Jazz Ensemble.