Full STEAM Ahead

Engagement in science, technology, engineering, art and math
Saturday, April 20, 2019

Outreach and community engagement are key to The Appalachian Experience. They are also central to our efforts to increase enrollment and achievement for low-income and rural students. Our science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) initiatives also bolster interest in critical workforce programs in these fields.

I am proud to highlight below just a few of your many efforts — as volunteers, teachers and mentors — that speak to your dedication and the broad impact you are having in these important areas:

  • Saturday, April 6,149 teams of adults and K–12 students gathered in Holmes Convocation Center for the Appalachian SumoBot Competition. Dr. Eric Marland organized this event with support from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the North Carolina Science Festival and ECR Software. Additionally, students from many departments helped run the competition. The robots are built by contestants and must be programmed to act independently of humans.
  • Appalachian’s STEAM Expo will be held at Holmes Convocation Center Tuesday, April 30. More than 2,500 students and teachers will visit over 40 STEAM-related booths, including an interactive “In Search of Earth’s Secrets” exhibit from the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES).
  • Team Sunergy’s first solar car, Apperion, is on exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences as part of the 2019 Triangle SciTech Expo. Almost 4,000 visitors attended the expo Saturday, April 13. The car will be on display at the museum for the next year.
  • In June, as part of the Smoky Mountain STEM Collaborative, Appalachian will offer a series of graduate courses designed to prepare faculty in community colleges for teaching astronomy, and will also provide summer research experiences for community college students in mathematics and physics. This project will ultimately lead to an increase in community awareness of NASA-developed science content and will improve student learning across grade levels in science and mathematics.

These events and initiatives are but a small sampling of your community outreach promoting STEAM involvement and interest. Appalachian faculty, staff and students are engaging broadly with community members in the surrounding counties and across the state. Building these relationships is one more way you are ensuring our place as the premier, public undergraduate institution in North Carolina.

/s/ Sheri Everts

Sheri Everts, Chancellor