South Mountain Community College (SMCC) welcomed more than 200 students to the college for the first See Yourself in STEM Conference, which took this place this past Friday, February 24.
Students and teachers from high schools across South Phoenix, including The Academies of South Mountain, Betty Fairfax, Cesar E. Chavez High Schools, South Point, and AAEC, took part in a STEM experience in the only-of-its-kind Science Complex in the community.
The program included hands-on workshops in Anatomy and Physiology where students could see inside the new Cadaver Lab, play with DNA in Biology, see Physics in action with sound, and experience winds from our Wind Tunnel in the Engineering Lab.
“We are trying to expose students to careers in STEM,” said Biology Faculty and Conference Organizer Dr. Yvette Espinosa. “We want students from our community to be the next doctors, scientists, and engineers.”
The conference plan came after the construction of the Science Complex, finding the facility as an opportunity to create a gateway to increase the representation of students of color in the STEM workforce. A 2021 Pew Research Study found that Black and Hispanic adults are underrepresented among STEM college graduates compared with their share in the population.
SMCC has taken on various initiatives to support the STEM education pipeline and is nominated for a Bellwether Award for the Ultimate Technology Summer Camp, which enrolls 8, 9, and 10-grade students in coding and hands-on Raspberry Pi activities.
The See Yourself in STEM Conference was a memorable experience for students, where they had the opportunity to participate in workshops and hear from SMCC alumni Soyasha Pandey, an Aerospace Engineer, and Intel Engineers Frank Robles and Sheila Lopez.
SMCC plans to continue offering opportunities in STEM programs through the See Yourself in STEM Conference, summer camps, and any initiative that supports increasing the number of students of color in the workforce.