UMSL students spearhead family-focused STEM Night, draw 700 to local elementary school

UMSL Daily

UMSL College of Education students (from left) Brooke Elsner, Amy Husenica, Danielle Mueller, Ashtyn Boedy (in front), Megan Tate, Kara Sneeringer and Adam Vinson wore their white lab coats throughout the day leading up to Zitzman Elementary’s STEM Night to help get their students excited about the evening’s activities. (Photos courtesy of Danielle Mueller and Megan Tate)
What do a great horned owl, a bee keeper and a scientist from Monsanto all have in common?
They were each special guests at Zitzman Elementary in Pacific, Missouri, on March 30 – along with over 700 local children, parents, teachers and community members.
The festivities –  a STEM Night brought to fruition with the help of seven College of Education students from the University of Missouri–St. Louis – also featured food trucks, other science and nature experts and a plethora of kid- and family-friendly activities aimed at fostering curiosity and knowledge around all things science, technology, engineering and math.
Avian experts from the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri, introduced several owl friends to the curious students at Zitzman.
Student teachers Ashtyn Boedy, Brooke Elsner, Amy Husenica, Danielle Mueller, Kara Sneeringer, Megan Tate and Adam Vinson designed the STEM night – with help from principal Ketina Armstrong – as their senior project. They have each been pursuing their bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a certification in special education through UMSL’s off-campus program in Wildwood, Missouri, and will graduate this May.
“We thought long and hard about what we were going to do,” said Tate, noting that she and her peers really wanted to come up with something that would not only be fun for the elementary students but also make a long-lasting difference at Zitzman and in the community at large. “We came up with the idea to do a fun family night to encourage families to come to the school and …

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