100+ Schoolchildren Delight in STEM at Festival

Over 100 Children and Parents Find Delight in STEM at Annual SMC Festival

Second Annual Event Held May 4 Brings Santa Monica & West LA Community Members to College Campus to Learn—and Have Fun

Over 100 local schoolchildren and parents took part in a day of learning and fun at the 2nd Annual Santa Monica College (SMC) STEM Festival, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. Organized by the student-run SMC Chemistry Club—which recently earned the highest honors from the American Chemical Society for the second straight year—the free community festival was also co-sponsored by the Associated Students of SMC. 59 student and faculty volunteers facilitated the demos and experiments. (Photo Credit: Amy Williams).

May 7, 2019

SANTA MONICA, CA—Over 100 schoolchildren from Santa Monica and the Westside of Los Angeles took part in the free 2nd Annual Santa Monica College (SMC) STEM Festival, organized in celebration of Earth Week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the college’s main campus in Santa Monica, Calif. It was a day of discovering that learning about things like the principles of gravity and the non-Newtonian properties of Oobleck can be fun. And parents who showed up joined their children in a day of taking delight in learning.

Organized by the student-run SMC Chemistry Club—which recently earned the highest honors from the American Chemical Society for the second straight year—the free community festival was also co-sponsored by the Associated Students of Santa Monica College. A total of 59 student and faculty volunteers—from various STEM departments, Music, and the SMC Drescher Planetarium included—presented activity after activity designed to help participants learn about STEM in an engaging way. Live demos and experiments featuring the extraction of genomic DNA from strawberries, a coding activity, a hydrogen fuel cell demo, and many more were highlighted at the festival.

“The day turned out exactly the way I hoped it would…there was never a lull, our volunteers were busy presenting their activities and our visitors never had to wait long to participate,” said Dr. Jennifer Hsieh, SMC Associate Professor of Chemistry, who is also a faculty advisor to the SMC Chemistry Club. “Every person I spoke with expressed how much they loved the event and…that's the most rewarding thing I could hear!”

The 1st Annual SMC STEM Festival held in April 2018 was cited prominently among the several activities which earned the SMC Chemistry Club the “Outstanding” award from the American Chemical Society, which is the world’s largest scientific society. Last year, roughly 80 schoolchildren participated.

To stay connected with the SMC Chemistry Club, ‘like’ it on the Chemistry Club Facebook page or follow on the Chemistry Club's Instagram page @smc.chemclub. The clubs meet every Tuesday in Science 155 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Email inquiries may also be sent to chemclubofsmc@gmail.com. For more information about SMC’s highly regarded STEM Program—encompassing distinctive, hands-on academic instruction and student, support/tutoring, as well as a gateway to research and internship opportunities at JPL, NASA, UCLA, and more—visit the SMC STEM webpage.

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About Santa Monica College

Founded in 1929, Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In addition to being California’s leader in transfers to the University of California system, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University, SMC also offers more than 110 career training degrees and certificates. SMC provides news and cultural enrichment through its NPR radio station KCRW (89.9 FM) and The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center as well as lifelong learning through distinctive programs such as its Emeritus Program for older adults.