Elias Malak, a middle school student, spent the evening showing people how Lego robots work.
ROSEBURG, Oregon – On Wednesday, Feb. 7, Umpqua Community College (UCC) opened its doors to the community and invited people of all ages to its eleventh annual Explore Event. At the end of the three-hour, open-house style atmosphere in the UCC Gym faded, nearly 500 people had stopped by to learn about everything from forestry and robotics to welding and Legos.
Each year, UCC hosts this event to teach students of all ages about potential STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers. More than 40 local employers and community partners, along with representatives from UCC and a number of four-year universities, set up tables designed for audience show and tell.
“This is my first year participating in the FIRST LEGO League, and I love it,” Elias Malak, a sixth grader at Joseph Lane Middle School in Roseburg, said. “I have a great deal of passion for robots. My parents bought me a kit to make my first one, and I absolutely fell in love with it.”
Malak’s club was one of those set up at the event. He spent the evening—alongside his league mates—showing passersby how Lego robots work. Next to him was a robotics team made up of students from Elkton and Sutherlin.
“I’ve been doing this for five years now,” Aidan Smith, a junior at Elkton High School, said. “We’re an after-school club that builds these robots from kits, and then we take them out on the weekends to compete against kids from other schools.”
Robot-building genius kids aren’t the only students who enjoyed themselves. UCC Nursing Program students Jordan Stiefel, Jean Smith, and Maria Duarte spent the evening teaching people about the importance of having healthy blood pressure.
“Your blood pressure says a lot about your health,” Duarte said. “This event is such a nice change for us. We’re accustomed to working with people who are much older and not always this healthy.”
“It’s great to talk to little kids and let them listen to their hearts,” Smith said. “Exposing them to this when they’re young is such a great thing.”
This year’s event was sponsored in cooperation with the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub.
The College is hosting another Explore UCC event on Thursday, March 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event, which will take place in the Bonnie J. Ford Health, Nursing and Science Center, will feature a variety of UCC programs including; Art, Athletics, Business, Journalism, Paralegal, Public Safety/Paramedic, and more. Food and prizes will also be available (while supplies last).
Registrations will be accepted at the door, but participants are encouraged to pre-register now to avoid long lines. The online form is located here: https://www.umpqua.edu/explore-UCC.
Kira Oerman - Contact