SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Rowan-Cabarrus Community College invites people of all ages to its fourth annual STEM Open House at its facility on the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC).
On Thursday, April 16, from 5-7 p.m. and Friday, April 17, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., the College will welcome the community to a fun, interactive event showcasing the College's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.
The College will have dozens of interactive exhibits for children and adults of all ages to dazzle the senses and stir curiosity for all things STEM! The community will have the opportunity to make their own rocket, talk with a real SWAT team, check out a fire truck up close, play corn hole and even engage in activities involving sculpture and crime scene forensics.
"Almost everything we do in life has STEM applications, but not everyone realizes it," said Dr. Carol A. Scherczinger, dean of the College's science, biotechnology, mathematics and information technologies. "STEM subjects are very concrete. Science deals with our natural and physical world. Technology has given us the iPads, smart phones and computers we use every single day. Engineering is all about building things. Mathematics ranges from financial decisions to gaming strategies, such as playing pool or engaging in games of logic."
As robotics and technology have played a bigger and bigger role in manufacturing and advanced technology, the College has expanded its arsenal of training and industry-recognized equipment. Attendees at the STEM Open House will have the opportunity to interact with high-end robotics and even test out welding with the College's new virtual reality welding tools.
"Certain lab exhibits will only display for one day during the event, so folks may want to plan their schedules according to their interests. Of course, they are welcome to come both days," stated Dr. Scherczinger.
On Thursday, community members will have the opportunity to make "cocktails" with chemical compounds and discover edible DNA with strawberries. On Friday, folks can partake in "infected" where they will exchange fluids in test tubes to see who gets infected and how fast it can spread and "outbreak" which will determine the strand of virus that infected someone. Both days will include dissections.
"We think that the STEM Open House is a true celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. "One of my goals since coming to Rowan-Cabarrus is to increase the breadth and depth of our STEM education. I fully believe that everyone can be interested in STEM – and that it's critical that we embrace these subjects. America used to be the leader in technology and innovation. It's time for us to reclaim that role."
The College wants younger children to attend with their parents. The exhibits will be extremely diverse – everything from the complexity of balancing pH in dying hair to the chemistry of extracting DNA and how to develop videogames to race cars and fire trucks.
Surrounding public and private schools are busing in students on Friday for the occasion. Additionally, as an incentive to attend, the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation will offer a $500 scholarship to one high school senior in each county.
"The target audience for this open house is broader than it has been for open houses of the past. In addition to driving more traditional-aged prospective students, we also want younger children (elementary- and middle-school-aged) to participate with their parents," said Scherczinger.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College's STEM Open House will be one of the many events occurring as part of the NC Science Festival taking place from April 10-26. Given that STEM is an important focus for Rowan-Cabarrus, the College has committed to play a large role in the NC Science Festival. Activities will focus on engaging the younger generation in science. Events across the state are designed to bring science to life for students and their parents.