STEM Club: A world of science to explore

By Jonathan Sanchez

The Clackamas Print

The STEM club is hoping to captivate and bring the minds of students both young and old into the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by providing a welcoming community to share and learn about STEM.

“This [STEM] provides a community of like-minded individuals who can collaborate on fun and educational science activities, visit local industries and host professional guest speakers who lecture a variety of subjects,” said Robert Rutherford, a STEM mentor. “The STEM club was started two years ago as an educational and social peer group for those students who are studying in the STEM fields.”

The club allows students an opportunity to learn about other corners of the STEM fields. Students meet to discuss and take advantage of what the STEM field brings to the plate.

“Before the STEM club, there was an engineering club. It was decided that by creating a club for all STEM majors, and converting the engineering club to the STEM club, it would be a more inclusive title and have the result of attracting more students to participate,” Rutherford said.

Despite the club being fairly new, it is one of the largest student groups on campus, Mark Yannotta said, the mathematics department chair and STEM Enrichment Coordinator.

“We had Math, Computer Science, and Science faculty doing things with students in their departments, but not much coordination between departments,” Yannotta said. “Two years ago we had a very active STEM club led by [former student Rutherford]. He was very engaging with both students and faculty and now a lot of faculty members are contributing to various aspects of STEM.”

“The STEM movement on this campus really started around 2012, shortly after we hired Eric Lee, our full-time Engineer instructor,” Yannotta said.“A group of faculty got together and started a STEM workgroup and Eric helped organize our first STEM club … Prior to Eric Lee’s hire in 2012, our engineering program was struggling and there was not much of a STEM presence on campus. Shortly after Eric was hired, our engineering, math and science numbers started to rise.”

It comes as no surprise that this club has put in a lot of work to get to where they are today. They are now hoping to improve in the future to better help serve students in a way that will inspire them to get into the field of STEM.

“We want to raise awareness of STEM club,” said student and science officer Justin Boettcher. “We want people to get involved. We want more people to attend. We wanna share the awesomeness that is STEM club. We’re trying to setup a website. Ronda Hull is helping setup up a website while she’s on Sabbatical. It will be more prominent on the Clackamas website and it’ll be just chalked full of information and how to get involved. we’re hoping to see that hopefully in the next term.”

Yannotta added, “There are a lot of diverse careers that students can pursue with an undergraduate STEM degree … The best advice I can give students is to ask questions and seek information about careers in STEM. In addition to asking STEM faculty, we have a great STEM advisor on campus named Kimberly Hildebrand-Faust, who can provide students with resources and information about the career fields as well as how to get there.”

For students who are hoping to join, Boettcher said, “If there is any speck of interest at all, if you’re like ‘hmm, maybe I should go to STEM,’ just go. We hold it every Wednesday at P132 there is no requirement to go there. There is no signing up. There is nothing. You just go in and you enjoy it with us.”

The STEM club meets Wednesdays 5 to 6 p.m. in Pauling 132. For more information,contact Eric Lee at elee@clackamas.edu or Kimberly Hildebrand-Faust at kimberly.hildebrand@clackamas.edu.

More Info: visit http://www.clackamas.edu/academics/academic-support/stem-center