UMD Students Teach and Inspire Elementary Students about STEM Subjects

April 17, 2017 07:55 PM

Tayler Hebner remembers falling in love with science at an early age. The chemical engineering sophomore at UMD is now passing on her passion to younger kids in Duluth.

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She's part of the STEM Outreach Program. Two times a month, graduate and undergraduate students from the Swenson College of Science and Engineering volunteer to lead hands-on science lessons to younger kids in Duluth.

"It's really a cool experience for me. I get to give these kids what mentors gave me when I was their age. There are going to be future scientists in this room," Hebner said.

Monday, Tayler and a few other students were at Piedmont Elementary in Miss Grewe's 5th grade classroom.

Kamaya Bolton said she might be interested in being a scientist some day. "The UMD kids make science more fun. They bring us activities to do." 

Monday's activity was focused on rocks and plate tectonics. The UMD crew brought crayon pieces, which the kids then molded in to igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rocks. 

Jodi Grewe said that she didn't like science much as a kid. So she made it her mission to make it fun for her kids. "They really encourage them to like science, and want to become scientists. Plus the students help refresh a thing or two for me," she chuckled.

The older students get a kick out of the younger ones too. "You never know what they are going to ask," Ian Treat told us. He's a geology grad student. "They ask if they can put plate tectonics back, to what it used to be like. It gets them thinking about the earth."

The dean of Swenson was also on hand on Monday.

"The kids really relate to them well. They see role models. They see how exciting science is. And for young women especially, getting girls interested in science is an important mission for us," Dr. Joshua Hamilton explained. "STEM is an important part of our state's economy as well."

About 200 students from UMD are part of the outreach program.


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