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Students to Share Passion for STEM with Fresno Youth

February 19, 2015
Students from UC Merced will visit Fresno’s Riverview Elementary School on Feb. 27 to help promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The visit, which will include activities for second- and fifth-graders, coincides with Engineers Week, which will be celebrated Feb. 22 through 28 across the U.S.
Fresno ranked No. 98 out of 100 metropolitan areas in the U.S. in the number of workers employed in “advanced industries” — such as those in STEM fields — according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution. Studies show that STEM employees earn more on average and have an unemployment rate that is half of that for non-STEM workers.
The UC Merced students will share their enthusiasm for engineering with an estimated 140 Riverview students, highlighting its importance to society by demonstrating a quadcopter used for environmental and agricultural research purposes and engaging the students in hands-on activities. The second-graders will learn about measurements, while the fifth-graders will build rubber-band-powered cars.
“Local, national and global leaders turn to engineers and scientists to solve the challenges of today,” said Petia Gueorguieva, Ph.D., coordinator of the UC Merced STEM Resource Center. “Yet, not enough students on a national basis are showing interest in these and related subjects.”
The UC Merced STEM Resource Center provides a friendly learning atmosphere and helps students succeed in their academic and research activities. It also supports UC Merced’s student organizations in outreach activities that promote the STEM disciplines and motivate future undergraduates to pursue science and engineering majors.
The students who will visit Riverview are enrolled in the UC Merced School of Engineering and are members of Vanguard, the “umbrella” organization for engineering professional clubs on campus. The students volunteer their time to work with K-12 students. 
“My fellow students and I are excited about what we’re learning at UC Merced and what we plan to do in the future as engineers,” said Avery Smith, president of Vanguard at UC Merced. “We enjoy sharing our enthusiasm with younger students and hope that we can be an inspiration to them.”