A {STEM}ulating expo

ICC holds science expo.
Apr. 13, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Over 1,000 sixth-grade students explored the many real-world uses of science and technology at Isothermal Community College (ICC) on Friday.

They came for the third annual ICC Science and Technology Expo, which included 32 exhibits featuring some form of science, math, engineering and technology.

"We are excited to have all the sixth graders from Rutherford and Polk counties to show them dozens of awesome reasons why they should get excited about science and tecnology," Mike Gavin, director of marketing and community relations with ICC, said. "So many of the exhibits in many of the colleges different areas show the students that science touches almost every area of life."

The students came from Chase Middle, East Rutherford Middle, R-S Middle, Polk County Middle, Lake Lure Classical Academy and Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy. Exhibits included burn treatment and pharmaceutical measurement, organic chemistry, medical terminology, motors, robotics and industrial automation and CPR. The exhibits were run by college faculty and staff and high school students.

"This is part of the community and we can showcase what the college has," Brenda McFarland, secretary of applied sciences and technology, said. "The kids love coming out."

The theme of the expo was "50 Years of Innovation" in honor of ICC's 50th anniversary. The coordinators of the event picked out the most popular inventions from each yeah beginning in 1964 to show the students. The Business Sciences department put together a technology museum featuring VHS players, typewriters, rotary phones and video game systems.

"In order for anyone, especially children, to appreciate technology advancements they have to understand where it comes from," Melissa Johnson, business management/information systems instructor, said. "We are showing them they can take their skills in gaming technology and translate them to a career."

Johnson had examples of how gaming technology is used in homeland security, business, athletics and combat for the students to view.

One of the biggest events of the day was the Doktor Kaboom! show. He performed interactive science comedy and talked to the students about the Scientific Method and the importance of doing experiments multiple times. He also talked to them about science safety.

"The science expo is a good outreach and aligns with what they are learning in school," Dr. Amber Thompson, dean of applied sciences and technology, said.

The students also viewed a helicopter from the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department. Law enforcement officer Randy Patterson talked to them about what the helicopter is used for and other specifics like how much it weighs.

"Any time we get the chance to show off our aircraft is great," Patterson said. "They've seen it flying but they've never been this close."

Another exhibit organized by Cathy Alexander, advertising and graphic design instructor, showed students how to use simple elements to create visually interesting works of art. Photography students dropped food coloring into vases full of water and showed the sixth graders how the colors blended together and tooka photograph of it. Then they took the raw image and manipulated it using Photoshop.

"It's great to introduce them to a variety of fields they can study and how technology plays into so many different careers, even art," Alexander said.