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Science Fair Held at Erma Byrd Higher Education Center

By Cassidy D'Angelo
On April 27, 2017

Imagine an event where children can visit hands-on science, technology, engineering and math stations while also learning about what they can study in college and potentially make into a career in the future. Fortunately, an event like this is coming to our very own Erma Byrd Higher Education Center. Dr. Susan Williams invited RESA I (Regional Education Services Agency) to have the Science Fair at the Erma Byrd Complex and then asked partnering schools like Bluefield State, New River CTC, if they would like to join in the day.

    Dr. Susan Williams explains this event as, “The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Family Fun Day in Conjunction with the RESA I Regional Science Fair. The science fair will be going on at the same time with 4th through 8th grade county science fair winners from Raleigh, Summers, Wyoming, McDowell and Mercer County students and their families. While students are waiting to present to judges, they can visit the Family Fun Day.”

    Both events start at 8:30 A.M. and end at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday, April 29 at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Complex. Cierra Toney and Emily Lively from the RTM 415 class, “Meetings, Conventions, and Special Events” have planned and organized the entire event. STEM Family Fun Day is free and open to families throughout Southern West Virginia. “Everyone [Professors, partnering schools, and students] were very excited about showing off their educational programs and having fun with the students,” states Dr. Susan Williams.

    She states that this event is beneficial in various ways for not only the students, but also the university as well. “First, it introduces children and families to college campuses. When they feel comfortable with us, they are more likely to feel like they are welcome as a student. Secondly, by creating lasting memories, those 4th graders will remember launching a rocket in our lawn. Those happy memories will help that person become a future alum of our university. Thirdly, this shows students where their interest in STEM can take them. Lastly, it is important to support the community. Opening our doors to RESA I’s Science Fair gives them a great venue to have their event and also shows the community that we support education in Southern West Virginia.”

    Some of the activities offered include Concord’s life-sized whale, visits to learning medical labs -such as the radiology technology laboratory, straw-rocket launch, NASA’s Star Lab, Bluefield State’s Robotics, NASA’s “Can the Monkey Fit” Engineering Station, and other hands-on activities. Even students from the Social Work Organization are getting involved by selling refreshments throughout the day as a fundraiser.    

    There are many goals. “The students planning the event will have a great sense of accomplishment and develop a great addition to their professional portfolios. Families whose children are competing in the Science Fair will have a comfortable place to wait and fun activities to pass the time away. Students can get excited about STEM. The community can learn more about the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center, which is the only higher education collaborative in West Virginia.”

    Dr. Susan Williams states that all Concord students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend this event with their friends and families. “This is the first year we’ve assisted in the Science Fair. We hope to make this an annual event and become partners in hosting the Social Studies Regional Competition as well. Any ideas and all participation are welcome!”

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