Day 7 (Afternoon):
Hands-On STEM Experience and Peer Exchange
St. Petersburg College STEM Lab (Bay Pines), &
St. Petersburg College Innovation Lab (Seminole)
The group moved on for a pizza lunch at the St. Petersburg College STEM Center, a hands-on science learning complex adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway in Pinellas County. The facility provides research opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. Over lunch, Mark Douglas, retired Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter for WFLA-8 (NBC) spoke about how to tell a good story as the students transitioned their inventions into the marketplace.
After lunch, Ms. Erica Moulton, SPC STEM Director, took the students on a journey detailing the presence of micro-plastics in our oceans (and in the bay outside the STEM Center) that her students are currently measuring and reporting on. Lab Assistant Becky Krischer moved the group to the lab microscopes to view the micro-plastic pollution in everyday items, like drinking water, fish, and the biosphere outside the building.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the St. Pete College Innovation Lab, created by chief librarian, musician and “tech geek” Chad Mairn. The Innovation Lab is a collaborative learning environment (oftentimes referred to as a “technology playground”) where people of all ages and with similar interests in science, technology, engineering, digital arts, and math can meet, socialize and/or collaborate while sharing ideas and learning new skills. After a welcome dialogue with Seminole Campus Provost Dr. Mark Strickland, SPC students immediately got the Tech Talent group flying drones in the auditorium, using virtual reality systems, and building technology! Chad also demonstrated his NASA-supported project interacting with the International Space Station. With everyone making something in the “Makerspace” with SPC students, Chad created a dynamic closing activity for the Mission! Chad also suggested that Al Nayzak and the iLab create a cooperation agreement.