Dublin Villager

Middle-schoolers learn about STEM program

By ThisWeek Community News  • 
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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Dublin City School District Manager of STEM Initiatives Kimberly Clavin is visiting middle schools to help students with scheduling. Last week she took two pogo sticks to Davis Middle School to show students how engineers design things.
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A pogo stick might aid some Dublin middle school students when scheduling classes for next year.

Seventh- and eighth-graders throughout the district recently got a demonstration in science, technology, engineering and math that could act as a springboard to classes and eventually a career.

Two pogo sticks, Dublin alumni and the district's manager of STEM initiatives, Kimberly Clavin, visited Davis Middle School last week after trips to Sells and Grizzell middle schools.

A trip to Karrer was in the works, Clavin said.

"When I was at (Ohio State University) I did STEM outreach and the No. 1 question I got from kids was, 'What's engineering?' and what kinds can they do?" Clavin said.

"This is a way to raise awareness of what engineers do and steer them into the right field."

To get students interested in STEM subjects and show the many things engineering is involved in, Clavin used pogo sticks.

As eighth-graders entered the Davis Middle School gym last week, Clavin bounced on a regular pogo stick that uses a coil to jump before trying out a more solid-looking pogo stick that utilizes elastic.

The pogo sticks jump-started a conversation about how pogo sticks bounce and different designs engineers have come up with to get them to bounce higher.

"There's a class in high school on introduction to engineering design," Clavin told students, adding engineers would use similar skills taught in the class to come up with different designs for pogo sticks.

Clavin even walked students through the process engineers would use to come up with pogo stick designs from computer models to test possible failures all the way to building prototypes.

"The design process is an example of engineering," Clavin said.

"Engineers are everywhere and in everything you see."

Engineers were involved in the making of North Face jackets that keep students warm and the shoes students wear, Clavin said.

Clavin gave students a peak into internships and jobs that she's done, including work on an oil rig and helping design a space shuttle engine.

Students also got to hear from fellow students currently studying engineering.

Davis Middle School alumni Paul Tela and Chris Ebersole talked about what they've done in their three years at OSU as engineering majors.

Questions from students focused on jobs: salary, availability and ease of finding one.

"There is a massive need for people to go into (STEM)," Clavin said.

"You're not going to have a problem finding a high-paying job in engineering right now."

With interest garnered, Clavin told students about classes they could take as freshmen and academies they could participate in as upperclassmen in high school.

Middle school students start scheduling Feb. 4, Clavin said.

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