This past summer, the NEF funded the Needham Young STARs (Science Technology and Arts Researchers) program organized by Needham High School students Kate Paik and Derek Yang.
The free, open-to-all, four-day STEM workshop for 4th through 6th graders was designed to cultivate more interest in STEM in the Needham community. The program drew 30 participants and over 15 volunteers. Needham Park and Recreation hosted the event at Memorial Park.
Students worked on various team-based engineering challenges and explored chemical reactions through rockets and volcanoes. Throughout the week, groups of students worked on a final project that focused on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
At the end of the program, parents were invited to a mock science symposium to view the students’ projects. Town Select Board member Marcus Nelson also stopped by to see the projects and acknowledge the hard work everyone put into the program.
Grant writers, Kate Paik and Derek Yang explained the motivation to create this program: “Growing up we have both attended many similar STEM-focused summer camps which have inspired us to pursue careers in the sciences.” They wanted to “give back to our community and share our love for STEM with the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists.” It was important to them that the program be free to participants “to promote a more open and equitable introduction to STEM for young scientists.” The NEF was proud to support this enriching program for Needham Public School students with a special interest in STEM.