More than 50 participate in inaugural Mount Mercy STEM presentation

Mount Mercy University welcomed more than 50 participants of all ages during the inaugural STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Moms’ Night Out presentation on April 23.

Betty Cherry Heritage Hall was filled with the sounds of “oohs” and “aahs” as parents and children enjoyed the interactive demonstrations from Mount Mercy faculty members. Keynote address was delivered by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Joe Nguyen, who wowed audiences as he demonstrated how evaporated alcohol can still be flammable.

The hands-on event was hosted by Mount Mercy in collaboration with the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership (IMSEP), and invited caregivers and kids of all ages to celebrate the many wonders of math and science education…and have a little fun along the way. Aimed at inspiring the next generation of leaders, researchers, and teachers and focusing on the value students get out of science education, the event also emphasized the importance of parents’—and particularly mothers’—roles in inspiring their children to explore the sciences.

“This is a great event because it gets parents excited about STEM education for their children,” said Kristopher Keuseman, assistant professor of chemistry, who helped with the chemistry demonstration. “It helps students become aware of the role of science and technology in their everyday lives.”

Nguyen agreed: “Parents are absolutely essential to help motivate their kids into learning. If they see how exciting science is, they can help motivate their child into exploring the sciences, which is a great thing to happen.”

Organized by Dr. Jitka Stehnova, assistant professor of mathematics and Dr. Elizabeth Kleiman, assistant professor of computer science, the event was a swirl of scientific activity. After Nguyen’s keynote presentation, parents and their children rotated through four demonstration tables designed to allow interaction with the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Participants explored the aesthetic beauty and symmetry of platonic solids by constructing them using paper folding, used magnets and interactive math software to decipher secret, hidden writing with a crypto wheel, and even boiled water in a paper cup without burning the bottom. Parents and children delved into hands-on exploration and came away with some interesting lessons.

View photos of the event on Mount Mercy's Facebook page -->

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