Last week I had the opportunity to meet with some of the members of the Students Advancing STEM Club, previously the Science Club, at the Coconino Community College. Their mission is to support STEM in the community and foster collaboration with CCC students. Members Heidi, studying environmental science and Andrea, studying chemistry and biology are currently working on an aquaponics programs with a focus on sustainability. As a student run club they create curriculum depending on their interests and facilitate STEM education. The advisor of the club, Melinda, teaches biology, physics, and math at CCC, in addition to being an active member of the STEM Community for years.
The club values community outreach and has been heavily involved. They have judged science fairs, created workshops for the Festival of Science, visited elementary classrooms for ecology demonstrations and provided engaging activities at STEM night at the SkyDome.
By sharing scientific knowledge with young students this club makes a huge impact! Do you remember the first time you looked into a microscope or discovered the age of a tree by looking at its rings? Science has the power to open up a whole new world and groups like this encourage it. By providing positive STEM role models to the community they create an inclusive environment working to close the opportunity gap in STEM education.
In the future they would like to create STEM kits with curriculum created by the students themselves. One idea that Melinda mentioned is for the group to develop and distribute kits (especially circuit based projects) to underserved communities. It is awesome to see spaces like this for students to explore interests, collaborate, and engage with young learners. We appreciate everything the Students Advancing STEM Club has done for the community and look forward to hearing about their upcoming work!