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ODU STEM Education Students Deliver Tetris Games and Puzzles to Patients at CHKD

By Noell Saunders

Old Dominion University students in Petros Katsioloudis' Manufacturing and Construction course warmed hearts for the second year in a row by delivering toys to young patients at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk on Dec. 5.

The ODU students researched, designed, fabricated and tested the toys -- 60 3D Tetris games and puzzles for all ages.

Katsioloudis, associate professor and chair of Old Dominion's STEM Education & Professional Studies Department in the Darden College of Education, said the mission is not only to have students learn the content but also to influence their attitudes and sense of philanthropy.

"It's about giving back to the community. We are fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr.'s statement 'Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education." Katsioloudis continued, "In all of our classes, students have to produce a final product, so why not make something that can make a difference in somebody's life? We see this every time we deliver the toys to the children. They are smiling, and even if it's only for a few minutes, we made their day."

Vasili Giannoutsos, a junior in the MonarchTeach program, said the Old Dominion students cut, sanded and painted hundreds of wood pieces individually.

"Some of us worked outside of class hours," he said. "We also had to follow very strict child protocol guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But at the end, it was all worth it to see the kids light up when they received the toys."

Katsioloudis' class was helped by students from STEM 231, Material and Processes Technology, taught by Basim Matrood, lecturer of STEM and professional studies.

The classes will make another delivery to the hospital during the spring semester.

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