and the college’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nestled within the Jandon Center has been STEM Outreach, an initiative that has afforded Smith students countless hours of experiential educational opportunities throughout communities of western Massachusetts. In an effort to expand our vision, the STEM team has evolved from science, technology, engineering and math to now include the arts (STEAM), thereby creating a newly formed lens by which our offerings will become more diverse and holistic.
Important COVID-19 Information
This year’s Western Massachusetts Middle School Science and Engineering Fair at Smith College has been canceled. There will be no virtual fair option. We look forward to a healthy 2021 fair season.
STEAM Outreach Programs
Our evolving STEAM initiatives continue to include on- and off-campus opportunities, and our connections with learning partners span a multitude of communities, including K–12 educational institutions through adult learning organizations. We are also widening our reach to include essential partners focused on humanitarian, social justice and environmental awareness efforts.
For more information, please contact Deborah Day, STEAM Outreach Coordinator and Chair, Western MA Science and Engineering Fair.
Who We Are
Smith College STEAM Ambassadors
Smith undergraduates who are interested in STEAM Outreach partake in a variety of single or multiple session leadership opportunities throughout the academic year. Partnerships include local schools, after-school programs, adult education centers or community organizations who request STEAM experiential educational opportunities. With guidance from the STEAM Outreach coordinator, STEAM ambassadors develop and facilitate lessons and activities at local schools, area events, or in GED programs. Once the activity is refined, the team works to develop a classroom loaner kit and/or lesson plans that can be used in the community or with a group visiting campus. Collaborative initiatives include Girls Who Code, Introduce a Girl to Engineering (IGTED), Western Massachusetts Science and Engineering Fair volunteers and judges, and the Pioneer Valley Maker Faire.
Smith College STEAM Fellows
STEAM fellows are undergraduate students who have a passion for connecting STEAM-related content, inspirational activities and experiential learning opportunities with community needs and work in the Jandon Center.
What We Do
Western MA Science and Engineering Fair
One of the largest initiatives the STEAM Outreach Program has recently embraced is the opportunity to relocate the 2020 Western Massachusetts Science and Engineering Fair (also known as the Region 1 Fair) from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams to centrally located Smith College. Towns included in Region 1 span from New York state (west) to the central Massachusetts boundary (north and south of Ware and Palmer). In all, just under 100 towns are included in the Region 1 district, although presently only a small percdentage of school districts take advantage of the opportunities that authentic research offers by way of science fairs. Thus, the primary goal of collaborating with the Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair (MSEF) is to first provide visibility, accessibility and affordability of the Region 1 Fair to potential students, teachers, school districts and mentors. The vision of future programming includes creative, holistic, interdisciplinary opportunities for K–12 learners and STEAM ambassadors to utilize inquiry- and problem-based learning methods to solve real-world problems.
Crafting for Community
Our STEAM Outreach Crafting for Community (C4C) initiative at the Jandon Center for Community Engagement (JCCE) is designed to provide experiential engagement opportunities for Smith students and local community members to connect by way of crafting handmade, donatable goods. Items such as afghans, blankets, hats, bags and scarves are created, then donated to organizations or causes which Smithies have identified as addressing emergent societal or environmental problems. Anti-bullying campaigns, homeless shelters, hospitals, food pantries, organizations supporting veterans, refugees, survivors and rescued animals are a few possible recipients. This program will provide a platform to enable crafters to first learn new skills by inviting expert instructors to Smith to lead workshops that result in a deeper understanding of said craft, as well as donatable goods. We also aim to provide additional non-instructional maker space meeting hours to support crafters.
Student Scientists Outreach Program
The Student Scientists Outreach Program focuses on the use of the zebrafish model system to take advantage of its beautiful and captivating embryology, the many genetic and cellular approaches, fast embryonic development and its total accessibility for assaying environmental manipulation. We primarily target teacher training with the zebrafish, and tailor its use to the common core objectives and teacher goals. This program’s success is in part due to the fact that we are not adding on curriculum to teachers, but providing opportunities to deliver the same curriculum with more engaging and inquiry-based methods. We are currently working with 10 teachers in five school districts.