NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools to host the STEAM Project Expo.
About 150 students in grades 5-8 from 18 Nashville area schools participated in the event in TSU’s Kean Hall on May 8.
During the event, students showcased their collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking skills by displaying projects created throughout the year.
The projects were judged by experts in the fields of STEAM (science technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). The main difference between STEAM and STEM, is that STEAM includes the “arts.”
“We are focusing on STEM, but we really want to tap into that creative piece,” said Jennifer Berry, director of STEAM/Science for MNPS. “When you look around Nashville, it’s … an art city. So we want to value the culture of Nashville.”
Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said he’s glad to have the partnership with MNPS.
“TSU and the College of Engineering have been a strong supporter of STEM education for a number of years,” Hargrove said. “The goal is to recognize and encourage students in K-12 to consider STEM careers by being engaged in STEM-related projects while they’re in school.”
Brandon Gregoril, a student at William Henry Oliver Middle School, said he enjoyed meeting other students, and experts in the different STEAM fields.
“I feel privileged to do this,” said Gregoril. “Many students don’t get this opportunity. I feel I’ve accomplished one of my goals.”
Jeff Hunter, a senior program manager with the National Parks Conservation Association, was one of the Expo’s judges. He said the students were “impressive.”
“This is the next generation, the next stewards of our public lands, and wildlife,” said Hunter. “It inspires hope in me.”
Catherine Gordon, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at TSU, said the Expo was also a great recruitment opportunity for the university.
“To allow students to come to the university and participate in STEM activity is huge for us, especially the College of Engineering, and all STEM-related departments at TSU,” she said. “It allows the students to be familiar with TSU, know where the school is, see what we have, and then feel like they can also do it.”
TSU has received a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to bolster undergraduate students’ interest in STEM.
Earlier this year, TSU President Glenda Glover surprised 20 students who visited the university with scholarship offers if they planned to major in a STEM course and have a good GPA.
To learn more about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.
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