“I like building and, well, I think I got that from my name Mason because it’s a brick builder,” said Bell. Bell is designing and building a machine that will keep a marble rolling for at least 15 seconds. “As I’m trying to figure out how this would go up, maybe I get a couple of sticks tied together and that would be tied on top for a hoop bag,” explained Bell.
The project is part of STEMechanics, one of many after-school programs hosted by STEMY.
The nonprofit is run by passionate high school STEM students like DuPont Manual juniors Anirudh Gundapantula and Vedha Balamurugan.
“This entire workshop was designed just so kids can be exposed to Rube Goldberg, and so this project was a way for kids to be creative and competitive,” said Balamurugan. “We wanted them to have the ability to practice the engineering design process in a way that was fun for them, and also get to test it out with their peers.”
STEMY began as an after-school gathering of students helping peers with science fair projects. Students expanded and evolved the program to share their love for STEM with disadvantaged elementary and middle school students.
“Basically what we’re doing is we’re working on bringing science and engineering to underprivileged groups in the area because we know a lot of them don’t have access to quality education like that, and we want to make sure they get that regardless of like their socio-economic status,” said Gundapantula.
The STEMY team, made up of about 50 students from different Jefferson County Public Schools, has raised more than $17,000 and impacted more than 1600 students.
“Seeing kids being excited about science and engineering like I feel like I go to school where a lot of people have access to the things they need and I still don’t see like that level of excitement but like here, like the genuine excitement I see, it’s just amazing,” said Gundapantula.
At the end of STEMechanics workshop series, students will be able to share what they learned and created with a civil engineer.