From watching the release of a weather balloon to controlling a 200-pound robot, those attending the inaugural STEM-CON on April 30 at the College of DuPage will be able to experience the wonders of science.
“We want to get kids excited about STEM,” said Laurie Jorgensen, COD’s director of marketing and creative services.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM-CON will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30 in the PE Center Arena at COD, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn.
The event is free and open to the public. Students will learn more about STEM through hands-on demonstrations.
“We want something to really engage the students,” she said. “To talk about the physics of flight, we’re bringing an airplane in. They get to touch and feel and interact with things.”
The event is geared toward students in junior high through high school, Jorgensen said. STEM-CON also is designed to put a spotlight on the science programs that COD offers.
“People are not really aware of the really high quality programs we have in the hard sciences,” Jorgensen said. “So we wanted to make people aware of the resource that is here for them at COD to start those programs and also to kind of make the connection between those programs and careers, that there’s really great jobs in STEM.”
More than 35 faculty members will be involved in the event, she said, including biology professor Jim Ludden. Ludden has been studying how zebra mollusks are taking over the Great Lakes.
“He’s working with the Department of Natural Resources on that,” Jorgensen said. “Both the Department of Natural Resources and Jim will be at STEM-CON talking about that research.”
Those who come to the event will learn about the principles of energy when a concrete block is smashed over adjunct professor Alyssa Pasquale as she lies on a bed of nails. The event also will feature speakers such as Olympia LePoint, an author, educator, science entertainer and award-winning former rocket scientist.
“She literally went from failing at math to rocket scientist,” Jorgensen said. “She is going to talk about how she overcame that fear of math.”
Jorgensen said the event is generating a lot of interest, and she hopes STEM-CON will turn into an annual event.
“We’ve had a lot of teachers contact us about bringing their students,” she said. “We definitely think this is going to become an annual event.”
More information about STEM-CON is available by going to cod.edu/stemcon.