Over 220 children and parents attended the first ever Inspire STEAM Expo on Saturday, January 23, 2019. Organized by ASCE YMF, the Expo was designed to encourage the youth of the next generation to pursue career paths in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The event invited multiple math and engineering-focused organizations from around the Valley to collaborate in a shared space that allowed them to promote their unique vision of what it means to be an engineer to children of all ages. To complement ASCE YMF’s continued commitment to community engagement, the Expo also featured an integrated food drive with proceeds donated to Three Square, a local food bank aiding community residents battling with hunger across Southern Nevada. At the conclusion of the event, two and a half 55-gallon donation barrels were filled with food and essentials, and $106 in cash and online donations were collected. For every $1, Three Square can provide up to three meals for an individual in need.
UNLV's Director of Undergraduate Recruitment, Daniel Mendoza (center), and a volunteer speak to a student
Several screenings of the award-winning film, “Dream Big: Engineering Our World”, were shown at the event to the inform the attendees about the important work engineers do and the pivotal role they play in societal functions. To give kids a taste of what engineering and science involves, the STEAM Expo included various hands-on activities such as a wind-powered lift station, a train levitating on magnetic tracks, and a shake table to simulate structures withstanding earthquakes.
ASCE YMF member, Iani Batilov, teaches kids about the mechanics of the MagLev train.
The attendees were also offered a wide range of unique activities and opportunities offered by the attending partner organizations. Mathcounts and Andson Money handed out flyers with information on the competition and services their respective organizations offer. The Future City competition was showcased with the display of the award-winning and nationally qualified model city, Liang Firix, designed by local middle school students from Hyde Park. Team mentor, Jane Burge, was present to answer questions about the program. The Student Model Bridge Building Contest (SMBBC) taught students bridge design principles through a paper bridge making activity and shared information on their competition program that included a wood bridge model on display. The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) instructed the kids on how to assemble large arch bridges and flying hoop gliders.
Dr. Dave James of UNLV and NSPE explains to students how the arch bridge is built
UNLV’s Tech Trekker program, organized by Dr. Erica Marti, was also on hand to demonstrate their mobile science and engineering activity workshop that included lessons and activities such as solar power, water filtration, and 3D printing. FIRST Robotics was also present to showcase LEGO robotics kits and a local high school team’s robot on wheels.
UNLV’s Tech Trekker program shows off their 3D printer
The Expo also offered STEAM-inspired raffle prizes to the kids as a token of appreciation for donating to the Three Square food drive. Prizes such as copies of the Dream Big film, K’NEX sets, a LEGO replica of the Las Vegas Strip, a drone, and more were awarded to the lucky raffle winners!
Happy faces all around as the winners cheesed it up after winning their raffle prizes.
The Inspire STEAM Expo brought together organizations, willing volunteers, and excited attendees, where the most rewarding experience for all was the possibility of inspiring the next generation of fantastic engineers.
A railing that attended the 2019 Inspire STEAM Expo
ASCE YMF would like to thank NSPE-NV, FIRST Robotics, Future City, Mathcounts, SMBBC, Tech Trekker, Andson Money, and Three Square for their help and participation in the Inspire STEAM Expo. YMF would also like to thank UNLV’s College of Engineering for providing the venue for the event and the ASCE Student Chapter members for their help and coordination with UNLV. Special thanks to Stephanie Asao for graphically designing the posters for the event and Bernie Espinoza for taking photos. Last, but not least, thank you to all the volunteers who sacrificed their Saturday to participate in this outreach event. Without the volunteers, this Expo would not have been possible. ASCE YMF hopes to see everyone again next year!
ASCE Student Chapter Volunteers, Nicholas Portugal (left) and Bernie Espinoza (right), take a pause from setting up for the event
The Las Vegas Younger Member Forum (LV YMF) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) promotes and enhances the civil engineering profession within the public community, by providing younger members and students with opportunities for professional and leadership development, networking, and community service in a social environment that allows "engineers" to express themselves.