The event was for Rutherford County Schools’ middle and high school students, but MTSU had a major hand in the success of the recent fourth annual STEM Expo featuring science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
MTSU’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences provided a $1,000 scholarship to the Best of Show recipient: Anjaney Sharma of Central Magnet School. His project, a new and improved carabiner, received a score of 98.1 from the judges’ evaluation during the event held Tuesday, March 22, at Lane Agri-Park.
The CBAS scholarship will hopefully entice Sharma into strongly considering his hometown university to further his education.
In addition to being judges for more than 130 projects, MTSU faculty and students also mentored and advised many of the 300 students from 14 county schools.
MTSU School of Concrete and Construction Management Director Kelly Strong and Nicole Green, the academic and industry relations specialist for the program, made concrete coasters for the participants “and explained the chemical reaction that was occurring as the wet mix solidified,” Strong said.
“We really enjoyed explaining the science of the concrete to the next generation of builders,” he added.
MTSU Physics and Astronomy Chair Ron Henderson and MTeach Director Heather Green also were among 19 MTSU volunteers helping to mentor the STEM students. MTeach is the mathematics, science and agriculture teacher preparation program at MTSU, and is designed to increase the quantity and quality of mathematics and science teachers.
MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences’ 11 departments provided swag — pens, hand sanitizer, backpacks, foam airplanes and more — for the budding scientists.
County schools’ student projects were developed to solve problems, challenges or answer real-world questions.
Stephanie Finley, county schools’ science specialist and event organizer, said the STEM expo “gives kids the opportunity to showcase original research whether they’re looking to be college ready or career ready. This generation is our future doctors, scientists and engineers.”
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)