George Mason University

News at Mason

Mason conducts STEM outreach at 2018 USA Science and Engineering Festival

April 2, 2018   /   by John Hollis

George Mason University will be well represented at the nation’s largest celebration of science and engineering when the 2018 USA Science and Engineering Festival takes place April 7-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The two-day Expo features more than 500 of the nation’s leading science and engineering organizations, as well as participating colleges and universities, high-tech corporations, federal agencies and STEM organizations, all in the hopes of inspiring young people to follow in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“The festival helps to promote the much-needed awareness of the shortage in STEM talent by increasing public awareness of applications of STEM and to encourage the next generation workforce to pursue careers in science and engineering,” said Padmanabhan (Padhu) Seshaiyer, a professor of Mathematical Sciences in Mason’s College of Science and an associate dean for academic affairs.

The festival will feature more than 3,000 hands-on, interactive exhibits.

Mason’s booth will include representatives from multidisciplinary programs and will showcase exhibits from diverse fields such as education, media, robotics, geology, and forensic science, as well as the fundamentals of physics, chemistry and other fields.

Hands-on activities at the Mason booth will include opportunities to make brush bots, understand the effects of water quality, produce lightning with static electricity and learn how Komodo dragons can help you heal faster.

“We’ll help you see where STEM at Mason can take you” is Mason’s official mantra for the event.

Camille Flores, a Mason student pursuing a master’s degree in forensic science, called the gathering “a great opportunity for young people to see what are the ‘hot topics’ of today.”

But she was equally cognizant of the festival’s deeper symbolic significance.

“It is definitely important for young girls to see young women in fields they’re interested in,” Flores said. “It gives them a light at the end of the tunnel that the dreams they have to be successful in a STEM field are achievable. These events give young girls of today an opportunity to meet someone in the field, ask questions, get answers and be inspired in person.”

Flores said events like the USA Science and Engineering Festival are critical to the overall future of STEM-related fields.

“The young people that attend today’s events could be tomorrow’s exhibitors and inspiring the next generation of young minds,” she said.