Salish and Kootenai College was the site of the second annual Flathead Science and Tech Festival last Saturday afternoon, May 4. It was all about STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathmatics. STEM is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development.
It was also a celebration of creative science and technology projects developed by youth from across the Flathead Reservation. This included creative Community Health data interpretations, like the Community Health Rube Goldberg devices that have been developed in Flathead Indian Reservation classrooms with support from the SpectrUM Discovery Center. SpectrUM was led by associate director Jessie Herbert. Her SpectrUM program has been concentration on the Ronan Boys & Girls Club, Polson Middle School, Arlee Middle School, Dixon School, Hot Springs School and Two Eagle River School.
Tansy Remiszewski, an AmeriCorps VISTA with Tech4Good@SKC in Pablo was in attendance at the Science and Tech Festival. Tech4Good@SKC empowers middle, high school and college students on the Flathead Indian Reservation to achieve their educational and professional dreams through immersive experiences in science, art, design and traditional knowledge.
Additionally, Aaron Thomas — a chemistry professor at the University of Montana — was present with 60-plus Flathead Reservation youth who have spent the currect academic year developing some amazing science fair projects. Thomas said his school coverage area is Polson, Ronan, Charlo and Hot Springs.
The Flathead Biological Station Education Liasion Monica Elser used microscopes to allow students to view a variety of plankton samples — “to see what’s in the lake,” she said. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Natural Resources Department was also represented to enhance educational opportunities for Flathead Reservation students.
The afternoon featured lots of engaging learning experiences, presentations by students and judging of handmade posters. Many prizes were awarded later in the afternoon.