United Way of Bucks County and Bucks County Intermediate Unit held their annual iSTEAMM Conference in May. To keep everyone safe from COVID-19, the event became a virtual conference.
iSTEAMM connects Bucks County 7th and 8th graders to mentors who work in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Manufacturing and is the biggest student conference in Bucks County.
Over 300 students and educators attended the conference online.
The conference this year was hosted by, Miss America 2020, Camille Schrier. Schrier, a Bucks County native, made history when she presented a chemistry demonstration as her talent during the Miss America competition. She is a biochemist pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.
In addition to sharing live science demonstrations, Schrier talked about the importance of STEM education and answered questions submitted by students.
Every school that participated was entered into a raffle to win one of two prizes: $5,000 to put towards their school’s STEM education or a one-week residency of the Bucks IU’s Mobile Fab Lab at their school. These prizes were made possible by generous sponsors: PECO, Comcast, Langan Engineering, Penn Community Bank, PPL Electric Utilities, Solvay, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, and UGI Electric Utilities.
Winners of the raffle prizes included; Bristol Borough School district, winners of the one-week residency of the Bucks IU’s Mobile Fab Lab. Strayer Middle School in the Quakertown School District, winners of $5,000 towards STEM Education. Strayer staff hope to use the prize to help students design and construct a bird blind on school grounds in order to take advantage of the wildlife area on site.
“We have wonderfully creative and dedicated teachers who are looking forward to using these funds to embrace STEAM principles in the short and long term,” said Chad J Evans K-12 Curriculum Supervisor of Business, Health and Physical Education, Social Studies, and World Language at the Quakertown Community School District. “Strayer Middle School and The Quakertown Community School district are grateful to the United Way for these funds and we can’t wait to share how they are used by our students and teachers in the future,” he adds.
In addition to the prize money, United Way of Bucks County purchased 20,000 pairs of disposable gloves for science classrooms at Strayer Middle School. This will allow students to safely share materials and dig into hands-on activities without the fear of contamination.