Delegation mentored student innovators and judged presentations
On Saturday February 8, 2020, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) held the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) EXPO & Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics Enhancement (SECME) Competition at the Miami-Dade College (MDC) North Campus. About 25,000 students, family members, volunteer mentors and judges, and educators participated in the day-long event, which included 3rd graders all the way through high school students. A delegation from the MIT Global CoCreation program participated as mentors.
“While browsing through the different classrooms set with hundreds of projects, I realized how the science/engineering projects under study were deeply rooted in the Miami Dade community,” said Dr Mercedes Balcells, Global CoCreation Program Director, who led the MIT party.
“For example, high school student Zoe Diederech presented her project about a nuclear power plant located at Turkey Point, with the goal to find a different way to cool the reactor and diminish the salinity of the water used, which has deleterious effects in the local species. She has worked on the project for 3 years now, which included discussions with the team of engineers in the power plant, and came up with improved solutions and an instrument she built in her home garage. A very talented young lady!”
The Global CoCreation team judged mouse-trap cars and egg drop projects from elementary, middle and high schoolers contestants.
While awards were being organized, the event’s lead organizer Cristian Carranza, administrative director for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, introduced Dr Balcells to many of the county’s school administrators, and recruited her to help give out awards to winning teams. “I was honored to shake the hands of 5th and 6th graders who were so proud to be recognized and eager to talk with me.”
According to Dr Balcells, “the campus of Miami Dade College was a celebration of STEAM, buzzing with children, families, teachers, college graduates and professors from all local universities—basically the whole community. It was a party, full of smiling, hard working people and a lot of incredible talent and commitment.”