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Local Students Discover STEM Fields during Engineers and Scientists in Schools Week

Volunteers from Eight Organizations Bring Hands-On STEM Activities to 32 Classrooms Across the County

The Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools, in collaboration with Stantec, a global architecture, engineering, and design firm, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), organized “Engineers and Scientists in Schools Week” during the week of March 20-24, 2023.

The event brought together a team of volunteers from eight organizations, including Adventist Health Sonora, to 32 classrooms of students in grades K-12 throughout Tuolumne County. The volunteers led interactive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities and shared their STEM career journeys with the students.

“The kids loved learning about structural engineering, and they really enjoyed the hands-on activity that was planned,” said Rachel Sooter, a Belleview kindergarten teacher.

In addition to delivering presentations, the speakers also prepared hands-on activities for the students to help them make connections between the presentation topics and real-world applications of science and engineering.

Matthew McNicol, an SFPUC engineer, taught Soulsbyville School fourth-graders about their local watershed. Meanwhile, Sonora High School students Madilyn White and Kendra Taylor learned about Geological Engineering during their Earth Science class with guest engineer Orion Lizaue of Delve Underground Engineering. At Belleview Elementary, kindergarteners Amelia, Opal, and Journey built structures from popsicle sticks and gummy bears with guest engineer Andrew Batalya, also from Delve Underground Engineering.

“Engineers and Scientists in Schools Week” was a great success, allowing students to explore STEM fields and interact with professionals who have chosen careers in these fields. The event also served as an excellent opportunity for Tuolumne County schools to strengthen their relationships with local businesses and organizations that can support STEM education in the future.