April 22, 2022
ST. LOUIS – STEM Celebration Week kicks off Friday, April 22, 2022, across Missouri, and STEMSTL and Science Coach, both talent-building programs supported by BioSTL, are encouraging students to try out new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities.
High school seniors, who have committed to pursuing STEM careers in college, will kick off STEM Celebration Week at this Friday’s STEM Signing Day, sponsored by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, inking their commitments to a 4-year or 2-year college or technical school and receiving a $1,000 scholarship to pursue their studies.
Throughout the week, STEMSTL is organizing St. Louis-area STEM events and activities at organizations throughout the region and also distributing free STEM@Home kits. Media is welcome and encouraged to attend any event. Families can visit Blueprint4.com/STEM to see the STEM Week calendar and STEM@Home kit distribution sites. Themes include:
Friday, April 22 – STEM Signing Day and Earth Day/ Ecology Day
Saturday, April 23 – Zoology/ Ecology Day
Sunday, April 24 – Maker Space/ Robotics Day
Monday, April 25 – E-sports Day
Tuesday, April 26 – STEM@Home Day
Wednesday, April 27 – Technology & Math Day
Thursday, April 28 – Health Science Day
Friday, April 29 – Citizen Science Day
“There is no shortage of ways to explore STEM this coming week, and we are particularly excited to get St. Louisans to participate in the City Nature Challenge on Citizen Science Day,” said Samantha Minor, STEMSTL Community Coordinator. “This is an international ‘bio-blitz’ competition where people find and document plants and wildlife across the world. It’s as simple as getting outside and observing your own community and taking photos on the iNaturalist app to help scientists and resource managers understand where and when organisms occur. While the city with the most participants wins the competition, science is the big winner by helping to collect data about our natural environment.”
“St. Louis needs a skilled and diverse STEM workforce for our region to grow and thrive, and fortunately, our region has a wealth of STEM-learning resources,” said STEMSTL Executive Director Kate Polokonis. “From the STEM-rich institutions that are part of our Zoo Museum District to community-based organizations engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and math after school, there are myriad opportunities for students to build their STEM skills in St. Louis. Missouri STEM Celebration Week is an opportunity to highlight and promote these programs and to celebrate Missouri students who are signing on to continue their STEM learning in Missouri after high school.”
BioSTL, a founding member and fiscal agent of STEMSTL, launched the program to build a collaborative consortium committed to equitable access to high-quality STEM learning and employment opportunities for all learners in the St. Louis Metro region. Its mission is to collectively develop and deploy quality systems-level changes that will advance STEM learning and career opportunities to empower the growth of diverse problem solvers, innovators, and critical thinkers, enabling them to thrive in a globally connected world.
Science Coach, incubated by BioSTL, engages 6th-12th grade public, private, or homeschooled students in the process of scientific inquiry to tackle the problems of today and tomorrow. Science Coach trains teachers to coach students to choose questions of personal interest, create procedures to test hypotheses, arrive at answers with validity, and build confidence in solving real world problems. Science Coach students then take their research projects to national and international competitions, and, for some, transform the innovation into a marketable product. An impressive 89% of Science Coach students continue into STEM pathways.
More than 90 Science Coach seniors have committed to pursuing STEM education in college. Some exceptional Science Coach student projects include:
Maya Irvine, Senior, Camdenton High School, attending Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in two biology tracks: ecology & evolution and molecular biology & biochemistry
The Role of the Phytotoxic Flavone Apigenin in the Allelopathic Pathway of the Invasive Plant Species, Lonicera Maackii (Bush Honeysuckle)
When Maya was researching the invasive Bush Honeysuckle, which has chemicals in the leaves and roots that prevent other plants from growing/germinating, she found that if the soil’s pH is modified with a simple solution after Bush Honeysuckle is removed, then natural forest biodiversity will establish months faster. She won First Place in the Ozarks Science & Engineering Fair and First Place at the State and Regional level of Junior Academy of Science.
Grace Johnson, Senior, Lebanon High School, attending University of Missouri, Columbia, majoring in Plant Sciences with a focus in biology, breeding, and biotechnology
Calcium Biofortification of R. sativus Through Ca Supplementation of Soil
Researching to address micronutrient deficiencies in crops, Grace was able to show that root-based crops, like radishes, had an increased concentration of calcium and magnesium in the radish when irrigated with Ca2+ solutions. She won three scholarships to Mizzou totaling $45,000, First Place at the Regional Science Fair and is competing at the International Science & Engineering Fair (known as the ‘Olympics of Science Fairs’) in May. Impressively, Grace’s research was published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators.
Emma Shields, Senior, Jackson High School, attending Arkansas State University, majoring in Radiologic Sciences
The Effect of Replacing Surfactants with Fossil Fuel Free Alternatives on the Toxicity of Ceriodaphnia Dubia
Concerned about the impact of fossil-fuel-based detergents (most detergents) to aquatic life, Emma found that by replacing the fossil-fuel-based surfactants in detergents with a plant-based alternative, she was able to reduce the mortality rate of Ceriodaphnia dubia (water fleas) by 3.85%. She won First Place in the Southeast Missouri Regional competition and also will be competing at the International Science & Engineering Fair in May. Emma has earned more than $57,000 in scholarships.
Science Coach is also hosting a free ‘Friendraiser’ on Saturday, April 30, 2022, for new ‘friends’ to hear from student researchers and learn about the science of food and wine. Please register here by April 26th!