Students and Parents Wowed at STEM Family Night

(Hanover, Md. October 23, 2013) — More than 400 students and parents visited the Fort Meade Alliance’s STEM Family Night on Wednesday Oct. 23 to experience science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at work.

This free event held at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover engaged students in activities utilizing STEM disciplines from Anne Arundel Community College’s Science Department, Anne Arundel Medical Center, National Electronics Museum, Power Hawks Robotics, Lockheed Martin Corp., Anne Arundel County Public Schools and Prince George’s County Public Schools.

“The goal of STEM Family Night is to expose children of all ages to new scientific advances and inspire the innovators of the future,” said FMA Student Programs Committee Chair Carrie Williams of Lockheed Martin, which had a team of demonstrators to showcase several applications of nanotechnology from fuel efficient travel in space crafts, air planes and automobiles to water-repellant materials.Shelby Sos of Anne Arundel Community College demonstrated the principles of air pressure using household items.

Through the various company demos, students had the opportunity to generate electricity using the chemicals in their skin, perform delicate tasks with surgical equipment, control robots, explore principles of surface tension and air pressure with household items and tested their skills on flight simulators.

Jen Storey excitedly stood behind her son Austin as he explored the flight simulators.

Anne Arundel Medical Center gave students the chance to "perform" surgery. “You have to pique the kids’ interest. Stop the kids and wow them,” she said,  “This stuff excites me.”

South River High School Sophomore Katie Chapman, joined her father Richard Chapman Jr., president of the Power Hawks Robotics Club and a team of volunteers at the event — showcasing their battling robots.

“It’s not about winning or the robots,” she said. “It’s about teaching kids about engineering and technology.”

STEM Family Night also offered students and parents a chance to talk to representatives from Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County Public School Systems about their STEM-focused programs and curriculum.  

STEM Family Night is an extension of the Fort Meade Alliance’s successful Tech Mania, which invites local ninth grade students to experience hands-on technology demonstrations from local companies during ta half-day event.

The Fort Meade Alliance created STEM Family Night in an effort to engage younger students — and their parents — in STEM-inspired paths. Parents play a significant role in their children’s interest in STEM. In fact, in an American Society for Quality study, professional engineers said that their parents were the major influence in their decision to pursue their career field.

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