To celebrate Massachusetts STEM Week, Oct. 19-23, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) announced a week-long series of events.
STEM Week 2020 is organized by the Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council in partnership with the state’s nine regional STEM networks. It is a statewide effort to boost the interest, awareness, and ability for all learners to envision themselves in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and employment opportunities.
The theme for the third annual statewide STEM Week is “See Yourself in STEM,” with a particular focus on the power of mentoring.
Barbara Washburn, interim dean of the School of STEM at STCC, said the initiative represents an opportunity to learn about interesting and exciting real-world applications of STEM.
“We’re thrilled to participate in STEM Week again this year. We have several engaging live and recorded virtual events planned,” Washburn said. “As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC is known for its high-quality STEM programs, and this is a chance to showcase them.
“We invite our students and the general public to participate in these free events,” she went on. “We particularly encourage people who are underrepresented in STEM to join us. They include women, people of color, first-generation students, low-income individuals, English-language learners, and people with disabilities. We want to show how everyone can see themselves in STEM.”
The following events will be held live through Zoom videoconferencing. For more information and to register, visit stcc.edu/stem-week.
• Monday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m. to noon: “Farming While Black: Uprooting Racism, Seeding Sovereignty.” Naima Penniman, program director of Soul Fire Farm, will give a talk about the importance and value of food production. The presentation will explore racism in food distribution, access, and other related topics. This is a collaborative event with HSI STEM, the Officer of Multicultural Affairs, the School of STEM, and the Urban Studies program.
• Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2-3 p.m.: “Know Where Your Food Comes From.” Speakers include Ibrahim Ali, co-director of Gardening the Community; Dr. Raja Staggers, assistant professor of sociology; and Jose Lopez-Figueroa, director of the Center for Access Services. The event features a panel discussion on the importance of food security, the prevalence of food deserts in our inner cities, the need to know where food comes from, and food access within the Greater Springfield community. This is a collaborative event with HSI STEM, Multicultural Affairs, the School of STEM, and the Urban Studies program.
• Wednesday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to noon: “Virtual STEM Careers Symposium.” Hosted by the STEM Starter Academy at STCC, this event features UMass Amherst professors and STEM industry leaders who will participate in an interactive symposium on STEM pathways and careers.
• Friday, Oct. 23, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Dell Technologies will host a webinar about employees’ experience with the company.
STEM Week will also feature recorded presentations featuring faculty in specific STEM programs. The following are planned:
• Physics: “The Science of Sports and the Engineering Behind Sports Equipment.”
• Engineering: “Computer Application in Engineering”.
• Optics and Photonics: “What is Optics & Photonics?”
• Math: “The Mathematics Behind Bin Packing.”
• Manufacturing: “Extreme Precision: Splitting Hairs on a CNC Machine and Measuring Them in the Metrology Lab,” and a video created at Governors America Corp., an electronics manufacturer in Agawam.
• Robotics: A demonstration of a Fanuc robot functioning as a pill sorter with programmable logic controllers.
• Computers/IT: “What is Computer Systems Engineering Technology?”
While there is a concentration of events planned for STEM Week, STCC offers STEM-themed discussion and presentation for students and the public throughout the year. In early October, STCC STEM Starter Academy joined students and researchers from UMass Amherst, Florida International University, and other universities and organizations from across the globe as part of the International Assoc. for the Study of the Commons (IASC) Global Symposium on Commons Without Borders: Global Multiscale Ecosystem Frameworks. A playlist of the symposium’s presentations is available on STCC’s YouTube channel.