GERS has a long history of outreach. Here, GERS alum Lori Holmes (PhD 2010, Mechanical Engineering), gives children a tour of her lab.
GERS gives back to the community by encouraging young minority students to pursue STEM disciplines by increasing interest at the elementary and middle school levels. The GERS Outreach Committee plans and executes outreach events throughout the school year with underserved schools in the Madison area that have lower standardized testing scores. The GERS Outreach Committee spends countless hours during the year on the 7 different youth outreach events.
Focusing on hands-on science experiments, the committee conducts an annual science exhibition called Science Night at Nuestro Mundo Elementary School, attended by several hundred elementary students and their parents. The students are eager during Science Night and request certain experiments for upcoming events.
Due to the success of that event, the committee has also begun a program called Science Days, where they lead science demonstrations in individual classrooms at schools across the city. This program allows students who may not be able to participate in afterschool activities to experience the wonders of STEM. With Science Days, the committee is also able to complement the students’ learning by conducting experiments related to concepts being learned in class.
GERS Outreach committee in 2015 at Gompers Elementary School, from left to right Samuel Acuna (Mechanical Engineering), Dinh Truong (Engineering Physics), Suehelay Acevedo (Biomedical Engineering), Karla Hall (Materials Science and Engineering Physics), Christian Herrera (Mechanical Engineering), and Jacqueline Mejia (Biomedical Engineering).
Both of these programs aim to generate excitement about STEM topics in the next generation. For their ongoing effort to increase access to STEM disciplines, the Outreach Committee has been recognized by the College of Engineering in this article. The schools that the Committee visits see increased interest in science and this has been one component contributing to higher accountability scores
The Committee is always open to new opportunities to reach underrepresented populations and if you have any suggestions or collaboration opportunities, feel free to reach out!