STEM Conference at SC4 shows the wonders of engineering and space
Science. Amazing discoveries that help us understand life and its mysteries. The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Conference were all the buzz on October 24 and 25.
The conference this year took the theme of engineering with the show of robotics and rocket building. Young engineers showing their creations while explaining to the kids and adults the operations of the robot. The gaze of wonder instilled in the eyes of Matt Kalawoski, age 6, as he said “I like how they got the robot to throw the ball, but I want to design a robot that helps people.”
With the future of the next rover being developed in a young mind, the conference also showed the beauties of space.
Kids building engines for deep space rockets on iPads supplied by the college and studying maps of distance star and planets as if they were planning to go there by pressing the button to engage the hyper drive.
Discussing more about the wonders of space, special guest Dr. Andrew Feustal, a NASA astronaut and Michigander talked to local elementary students, SC4 students, and Port Huron school faculty about his work and training with NASA. Raised in Lake Orion, Feustel graduated from Oakland Community College.
He has a bachelor’s degree in solid earth sciences and a master’s degree in geophysics, both from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in geological sciences from Queens University. Being a geophysicist, Feustel worked in Canadian mines by installing seismic systems for the use of keeping the workers safe and avoiding lawsuits.
For three years Feustel lived in Canada until a friend called him one day saying that Exon mobile was looking for geophysicists and encouraged him on coming to Houston, Texas to apply for a job.
“While in Houston, I realized I was 10 minutes away from the Johnson Space Center and I thought I might as well put an application there to,” said Feustel during his speech.
Quickly he started to talk about his training for space flights and added a bounce to his step. “Training for theses missions is hard; you go to theses survival schools and try to survive with minimal resources, along with getting new objectives everyday just like in space,” Feustel said.
“Those selected for the mission went to these schools and learned how to work as a team,” said Feustel as he transitioned though his slide show. “Being a team we all had to be good leaders but also good followers,” Feustel said as his battery to slide clicker died and made the statement, “Houston we have a problem.”
Continuing on, Feustel told the audience of a time when he wasn’t a good follower and became unproductive for the team. On an exercise in Alaska, his team and he were sea kayaking to the next objective. Seeing that he didn’t like the pace of the group he went ahead.
“I wanted to be a hotshot and show off not knowing that it would bite me in the end,” Feustel said smiling then grabbing his left wrist. “I had a big wrist watch on and as I went ahead of the group my wrist started to swell and became inert,” Feustel said. At the end of his speech Feustel had shown a video of his mission to the International Space Station.
Brandon Drinkert, SC4 student said “It is amazing how someone can come from a small city and did extraordinary things. Its motivation that I can do extraordinary things.”
With the success of giving kids the exposure to the wonders of science and technology. They might be the ones that take us to new heights in the future.