NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -More than 500 middle and high school students from across Middle Tennessee recently converged on Tennessee State’s campus for one of the largest science fairs in the state.
TSU and the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub organized the 5th Annual STEM Expo on April 6 in the Gentry Complex.
Students from 35 schools displayed the results of 259 STEM projects spanning science, mathematics, engineering, and technology fields: cyber bullying, breast cancer prevention, weather technology and sustainable recycling, just to name a few.
Students competed for bronze, silver, and gold medals based on judges’ evaluations. STEM EXPO sponsors also selected from among all entries for special awards.
Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the TSU College of Engineering, said the Expo was all about preparing the next generation of STEM professionals. He said “of tomorrow’s top 10 best jobs, 7 out of 10 are STEM related.”
“TSU and the College of Engineering are committed to promoting STEM education for Metro Nashville Schools,” Hargrove said. “Higher education and industry must become even more engaged in stimulating interests in STEM careers, and preparing students with the necessary background and skills to enter these occupations in the next decade and beyond.”
Serdarion Bell and Malik Brown of Johnson Alternative Learning Center in Nashville were among the expo participants. Bell, a 9th grader, and Brown, a 10th grader, presented a project titled, “Sustainable Recycling to Meet Community Needs.”
“We wanted to implement environmental conservation and sustainable recycling throughout our school and in our personal lives,” said Bell, on the reason for their project. “At the same time, we wanted to discover how we could help others in our community with little or no money.”
Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, dean of TSU’s College of Life and Physical Sciences, was one of the Expo’s advisers. He said the fair provided “a unique” opportunity for recruitment.
“Maybe we can recruit some of these students to TSU one day,” Sharpe said.
On the character of each project, displays were judged on basic hypothesis, significance of the subject, knowledge beyond what the project shows, presentation, and level of technology.
“There are some very interesting projects at this fair,” said Jonathan Reynolds, a TSU graduate student majoring in Computer Information and Systems Engineering, who was one of the judges. “This is really fun. These kids are well ahead in 21st century technology.”
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