February 2017

February News

STEM Clubs

Academic school clubs can have a great impact on students. Just like their athletic counterparts, academic coaches are influential in the character development of their students and provide them with opportunities to grow in leadership. Additionally, they provide an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how school learning applies in real-world settings.

Dave Fowler at Heppner High School advises two STEM Clubs, TSA (Technology Student Association) and VEX Robotics.  Starting a STEM Club takes a bit of work but has a huge payoff for students.  Some of those positive aspects include networking with other schools, extending learning beyond the classroom, and experience with fundraising and community service projects.  These clubs also fill a need for “other” kids who aren’t involved in typical sports.  Mr. Fowler makes advising these clubs more manageable by integrating some of the activities into the classroom.  When asked what is the payout for students to prepare for real work?  “Problem solving skills by far… and teamwork.”

In the spirit of making it easier for teachers in our region who may be thinking of starting up a STEM club, GO-STEM has started an informational page with data on different types of clubs.  Currently, there are pages for Technology (TSA, Robotics and Coding), Nature (School Gardens and Outdoor Learning) and Math (Math Counts) clubs.  These extended and applied learning opportunities offer a critical piece for many students for fun, creativity, learning, leadership and inspiration.

Check out the STEM Clubs page! If you have club resources you would like to see added to this page or if you would like to be a resource for other club leaders, please contact GO-STEM.

STEM in the Community

The benefits of educational events in the community cannot be stressed enough and partnerships are forming all over eastern Oregon to provide these. Family STEM and Science Nights are one way of filling this need in a fun and engaging way by bringing together hands-on activities that are connected to real-life applications and careers. Career influences are tangible and impactful as industry leaders get involved and we hear students at events saying things like “I want to be a wildlife biologist!”

Partnering with the La Grande Middle School, Eastern Oregon University (EOU) College of Education and EOU’s Chemistry Club offered a natural resource themed Family Science and Social Studies Night earlier this month that was a true success for the La Grande community. Parents and students alike could be seen enjoying the multitude of engaging booths. In smaller communities like La Grande, it is often hard to get the expected turnout with sports practices and games competing for the same time slots. A local mom makes her priorities clear when she says, “[My son] is in a sport, but this is more important.” This mentality is one that we hope to see spread. As parents are able to attend these events and see the true impact of the differing teaching methods, they are able to support their child more from home.

A partnership between Building Healthy Families and Wallowa Resources is spearheading this movement in Wallowa county with events like their K-4 STEM event on February 3rd. This event brought in children and parents to learn about inertia with stations including math probability with coins, tallest-tower engineering with drinking straws, density activities with homemade lava lamps, and a milky hydrophilic/hydrophobic exploration. Fun was had, prizes were won, and children were excited about STEM. A second STEM night for students in grades 5-8 took place in Wallowa County on Tuesday, February 21st. For more information about these events, visit their Facebook page “Building Healthy Families.” STEM nights are greatly encouraged as educational and industry communities are built to give our youth an advantage.

For information or support in holding a STEM event in your community, don’t hesitate to contact GO-STEM at 541-962-3012.

GO-STEM Student Intern - Alexa Shoemaker

As a senior in the Communication Studies program at Eastern Oregon University, having the opportunity to work as a student intern and to be a part of such an active organization as GO STEM is phenomenal.  I can already tell that this experience is one that will shape my future in non-profit organizations.  Through the use of online marketing strategies to raise awareness, monthly newsletters to inform members of various accomplishments, and the increase in involvement through social media sites such as Facebook, I am excited to contribute my skills and ideas to further the dedication and commitment to the future.

As I begin my time with GO-STEM I would like to say I appreciate the time and dedication given to me in this stage of my development in communication.  Over the last few weeks that I’ve worked with Donna and Julie, there have been a few key elements that have stood out to me.  First, the dedication; the dedication to people, growth, and education.  Second, the commitment; the commitment to our students, our future, and our sustainability.  The dedication and commitment to people that is demonstrated in this organization is what has drawn me into the same mindset with similar goals for the future.