Students pick up skills at STEAM summit
When Kasey Klouser got a glimpse of her own veins from a demonstration of a vein visualizer Tuesday, she wasn’t thrilled to see what was under her skin.
“It was disgusting,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to see so many.”
Klouser, a Kellogg Middle School eighth-grader, was one of nearly 2,000 students who attended the 2018 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) summit at the Rochester Community and Technical College Regional Sports Center.
The annual event, put on by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, drew students from 14 schools in the region. Representatives from 64 organizations and employers worked to give those students a glimpse of what they do.
Phyllis Trcka, of Olmsted Medical Center’s laboratory/health care medicine, demonstrated the vein visualizer to show how health care professionals use it to locate patients’ veins that aren’t readily visible to the naked eye.
Klouser and her friend Gracie Schefers got the vein visualizer demonstration and other hands-on demonstrations at the event.
Schefers said the event was a insightful glimpse to the skills and work that goes into making a community run.
“It’s just so amazing to see how it all works and see all these people with their skills work together,” Schefers said.
Making cities run is exactly Brian Malm’s job with city design and infrastructure consulting firm Bolton and Menk.
Malm demonstrated city water infrastructure design with a miniature replica of municipal water towers and a pumping station using real water. He had students guess which structure would produce the most water pressure.
Ema Klejeski, Triton eighth grader, guessed the tall water tower.
“It’s longer — it builds more pressure,” she said.
“That’s right,” Malm said after opening valves to each structure to show how they flow. “You’re stacking water on top of itself.”
Malm said he wanted to provide an interactive display for the event.
“The kids get to turn the knobs and watch the water flow,” he said. “They tend to learn more about something when they can interact with it.”
The organizations that volunteer their time at the event do a good job engaging students. This year’s event was the 11th annual STEAM summit. The size and scope has grown, but that’s not the biggest development since the event began, said Kathleen Harrington, president of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce.
“What’s different is employers are going out of their way to create interactive displays to get (students) engaged,” Harrington said.
The show was a chance for students to see how what they learn in the classroom can apply to daily life, Harrington added.
Many of those STEAM partners showcased technology skills they need or can help teach. Nuss Truck and Equipment had a live connection with a monitoring center in Greensboro, N.C., where people tracking more than 200,000 trucks on the road throughout the U.S.
“This is truly the technology we use,” said Rick Butler, Nuss information technology manager.
This was the first year company had representation at the event.
“It’s worth the investment,” said Robert Nuss, president and CEO. “That’s what we’re doing is investing in the future.”