March 31, 2015

The NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS), a multidisciplinary research center located on the Howard University (HU) campus, conducts Community Science Fests in the DC-area. These programs serve to demonstrate, explain, inspire, and mentor the youth to the wonders of chemical, physical and environmental sciences. Undergraduate, Graduate students, and HU Faculty and Staff members assist in offering these dynamic, age-appropriate experiments.

Last Saturday, March 28th, the Annual DC STEM Fair and Expo was held at Dunbar High School. The 2015 DC STEM Fair was open to students in grades six (6) through 12 in DC’s public, public charter, private, and parochial schools.  Each school could send the top five projects from their school fairs. NCAS and undergraduate students from Howard University’s STEM Majors exhibited during the Expo and Career Fair. The following participants were: Professor Vernon Morris, Director of NCAS and Professor of Chemistry, Mr. Miles Holloman, HU Department of Chemistry; Ms. Kadidia Thiero, NCAS; and four (4) HU undergraduates — Ms. Nashesba Alexander, Ms. Ivory Bryan, Mr. Fortune Ezemobi, and Ms. Diamond Williams. Dr. Morris developed the scientific content for the event. The HU team treated parents and students to a suite of demonstrations, including the…”Silver Mirror Reaction, using silver nitrate to coat test tubes, a very simple experiment that offers a lot of pleasure”, according to Mr. Holloman. Additionally, there were liquid crystal demonstrations, that illustrated heat transfer; and the ever popular spouting water bowl, which produces sound waves.

The STEM Expo and Career Fair is an exciting way to highlight STEM-based community organizations to high school students, parents, and community members. Organizations included industry partners, non-profits, local DC museums, higher education institutions, federal agencies, and military partners. DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser also visited the DC STEM Fair, and stopped by the NCAS table!

Community Science Fests are interactive and fun, and engage students of all ages. A chief aim of this program is to increase access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and the wonders of science to students who traditionally have limited inclusion and representation in the STEM fields. Fests also involve training students from the College of Arts and Sciences in conducting demonstrations, which enrich their undergraduate experience and community involvement while attending HU.

NCAS welcomes the opportunity to provide this mobile learning environment to community partners, schools, faith-based, and educational organizations throughout Washington, DC. If you are interested, please contact Ms. Thiero at 202- 865- 8679.

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The mission of NCAS is to increase the number of highly qualified, well-trained graduates from underrepresented communities in NOAA-related sciences, with particular emphasis on the atmospheric sciences, for career opportunities with NOAA, NOAA contractors, other Federal agencies, and academia.