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Hampton City School Students and Teachers Volunteer and Exhibit at the 2nd Annual STEM Exploration Community Event

On Saturday, October 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., over 420 elementary and middle school STEM enthusiasts and their families descended on the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center to participate in the 2nd Annual STEM Exploration Community Event. The event served as a lead-up to National STEM Day on November 8 and to the upcoming launch of Artemis 1 on November 14.  

The purpose of the free STEM Exploration Community Event was to engage students in learning more about STEM careers through interactions with exciting speakers and hands-on experiences with STEM-centric exhibitors. The event was a collaborative venture between Hampton City, Portsmouth, and Newport News Public Schools, the National Institute of Aerospace; the Coastal Virginia STEM Hub; NASA; the City of Newport News; Brooks Crossing; Virginia Space Grant Consortium; and Old Dominion University.  

Director of community and legislative relations Ann Bane said, “It was a fabulous day at the STEM Exploration event at Brooks Crossing. Inspiring speakers, hands-on learning opportunities for kids of all ages, and so many Hampton City Schools students and adults lending their gifts to this community collaboration. HCS Proud!”  

Hampton City Schools had more attendees (184) than any of the other 14 regional cities and school divisions represented at the event. 

Renita Bostic and Kecoughtan High School’s Governor’s STEM Academy of Architecture, Environment and Engineering exhibited for the second straight year. Students Camerin Banks, Julia Diggs, Faith Jennings and Lalah Young showcased their academy and led visitors in assembling a density tube to learn about the density of liquids, heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures (water, isopropyl alcohol, and kosher salt), and paper chromatography (separating the dyes used in black, brown, and green washable markers). Bethel High School’s Alex Minter and Heather Woodruff represented the Academy of Transportation, Analytics, Information, and Logistics (TrAIL) and shared their knowledge of drones. They also assisted attendees in building structures with popsicle sticks.  

Hampton High School Academy coach Christina Kerby and National Science Honor Society students Iyana Nwaford and Shayna Newby (from the Health, Human, and Financial Services Academy) and Lisa Patel and Krista Fountain (from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Academy) volunteered their time, assisting with set up and registration.  

Michelle Bowers and former HCS principal Susan Johnson led students in creating a coronagraph at the Alpha Delta Kappa Educational sorority exhibit. Seth Black, curriculum leader for career and technical education, was on hand to greet Congressman Bobby Scott, Chuck English (interim executive director of the Virginia Air and Space Science Center), Hampton vice-mayor Jimmy Gray, and Newport News assistant city manager Alan Archer.  

“The STEM Exploration event was a wonderful opportunity to showcase collaborative STEM education in Hampton Roads. It's great to see such a diverse collection of like-minded individuals come together to explore STEM education and STEM associated careers. It really proves that STEM is for everybody in Hampton Roads,” said Seth Black.

Besides participating in virtual reality activities, laying down tracks in the recording studio, and sewing a light up pillow inside the Brooks Crossing iLab, HCS teachers, students, and families had the opportunity to fly drones with Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Virginia Peninsula Community College, investigate Newport News Shipbuilding’s Digital Shipbuilding Lab, create a star life cycle bracelet with the NASA, operate the Menchville High School Triple Helix robot, and get autographed NASA posters. HCS students took advantage of the opportunity to network with speakers Julie Williams-Byrd (NASA Langley Research Center’s Chief Technologist), and Michelle Ferebee (NASA Langley Research Center’s Deputy Director of the Office of Strategic Analysis, Communications and Business Development and Hampton City Council Member), Emily Judd (Aerospace Engineer at NASA Langley Research Center), Nicole Pointek (Systems Analyst at NASA Langley Research Center) and Alexis Carrington (HCS Science Lab Facilitator).  

In case you missed the event, Hampton City School’s PEG TV was on hand to capture the activities:  https://youtu.be/m-Sw42Nu2zA.