ASU STEM turns kids on to science


When the lights went out, they all screeched with excitement -- the Sierra Grande kindergartners and first-graders were excited to watch one of the many new films available at Adams State University's Zacheis Planetarium. Their Feb. 21 visit to campus was part of outreach to local schools conducted through Adams State's STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), designed to increase interest in scientific and technical careers.

STEM Activity Director and Outreach Coordinator, Cindy Bervig, organizes planetarium visits by school groups and community members. "We've had everyone from Head Start kids to senior citizens from The Bridge," she said.

The planetarium was renovated and refurbished last summer with new equipment and presentations, to become the centerpiece of outreach efforts. The improvements were funded through a $3.6 million grant from the Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) STEM program, awarded in 2011 from the U.S. Department of Education. The five-year grant aims to help more Hispanic and low-income students earn a STEM degree.

Bervig is also organizing the second annual Summer STEM Academy, to take place in June, for students entering tenth through twelfth grades who demonstrate academic talent and interest in scientific fields. Up to twenty San Luis Valley high school students will live on campus during the Academy and explore a range of scientific areas and career opportunities. Last year's Academy featured a geological field trip and robot building workshop.

For more information about STEM outreach activities and the Summer STEM Academic, contact Bervig at 587-7586

STEM program

Title V at Adams State

By Julie Waechter