Youth Involvement in STEM Beginning to Grow

By Tayah Harper
UJW Staff Writer

WASHINGTON D.C. — Have you ever thought of a way to get more than 325,000 youth and their parents in one room? The 2014 USA Engineering and Science Festival in Washington, DC successfully accomplished this.

The festival is a place for inspiring engineers and scientists to come and have a hands-on experience with their career goals. The festival began in 2010. and is continuing strong in its third year.

Parent Luke Memo attended conference this year for the first time with his son. “My son likes science, so I decided it would be a good idea to come,” he said. “I like when he uses his creativity.” Memos pre-teen son says the conference was “amazing” and that he would like to come back next year.

Students from the Project Lead the Way program at Charles H. Flowers High School were also in attendance. The students presented projects they constructed in school. Their projects were an interactive alarm system and a puzzle cube.

The interactive alarm system is a mock security system. Attendees had to try to guess the correct code to disable the alarm. If the attendees guessed the code correctly, the display would read “open.” If the code was guessed incorrectly, the display would read “sorry.”

Nyah Drummond says, “The project showcased what the Project Lead the Way juniors did this year. We thought people would like it.”

Each attendee got three tries to attempt to guess the correct code. Most people finally made the correct guess on the final try.

The puzzle cube is a five-piece building block where attendees to create a 3×3 cube in two minutes. Different shapes were put together to make the cube. It was a big hit at the festival as the colors and the challenge attracted the kids.

“We thought it was fun since it was interactive and would really get the kids involved in science in engineering,” says Kaymin Dixon, one of the creators. “The puzzle cube allows the kids to brainstorm on how they can solve it.”
One attendee was able to construct the puzzle cube in 30 seconds with two broken arms. He narrated his steps to solve the puzzle.

Alexander Dulce, a teacher, decided to bring his class because he wanted the students to show everyone what they learned in their classes.

“I wanted my students to gain advancement in learning about electrical and electronics engineering. They needed to be more involved in STEM.”

The students were able to show thousands of people everything they know about science and engineering.

“I was so pleased. There are no words to explain how pleased I was,” Dulce said. “They really showed the world what they have to offer as young engineers!”


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.