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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Students Gain Early College Experience at ODU’s Fifth Annual STEM Day

By: Noell Saunders

The Darden College of Education hosted about 150 fourth- and fifth-graders from Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth for Old Dominion University's fifth annual STEM Day on February 18.

Students participated in hands-on workshops including an egg drop challenge, where they created an apparatus to protect an egg from breaking, and pendulum art, which illustrated how kinetic energy works. Other activities included exploring Google Earth and estimating distance using paper plates and cotton balls.

Jody Sommerfeldt, interim director of Old Dominion's Teacher Education Services and instructor of the Google Earth workshop, said STEM Day should inspire students to start thinking about college.

"We especially want to encourage students in underrepresented populations to look into the STEM professions, as we know it's a urgent need in our country," Sommerfeldt said.

Representatives of Old Dominion University's Student Virginia Education Association chapter and MonarchTeach program guided students through classes and provided a campus tour. They visited landmarks including the new Broderick Dining Commons, Webb University Center, the lion fountain and the Batten Arts and Letters building.

The event benefited both ODU students, who got a chance to practice teaching before entering the field, and the younger students, who were exposed to an early college experience.

Hannah Ruck, an Old Dominion student who is president of ODU's Student Virginia Education Association chapter, said the experience made her a better educator.

"The biggest accomplishment is interacting with students. I enjoy getting the leadership experience before I start teaching in a classroom," Ruck said.

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