Purdue partners with statewide STEM festival for students at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

September 4, 2013  

Candiss Bibbert

Candiss Vibbert
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University on Sunday (Sept. 8) will participate in Celebrate Science Indiana 2013, a daylong festival for P-12 students to showcase the joy of discovery and the wonder of science.

The free event, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is designed for students in preschool and older to highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education as well as research and careers in those fields.

Celebrate Science Indiana is collaborating with the American Chemical Society for this year's event in Indianapolis.

"Celebrate Science is a fun-filled, family event for generating early interest among Indiana's students - preschool, middle school and high school - in a STEM-based education and career," said Candiss Vibbert, associate director for the Discovery Park Office of Engagement. "Our goal is to engage students of all ages in interactive STEM-related activities and discussions that will spark their curiosity and imagination."

The Purdue exhibit will feature interactive activities and materials designed to connect students to the world of engineering, agriculture, education, chemistry and other sciences, said Dorothy Reed, assistant dean for engagement in the Purdue College of Education. Learning and education outreach programs through Discovery Park, Zip Trips, I-STEM and Motorsports-STEM also will be on display, she said.

Purdue entomology professor Tom Turpin, a Celebrate Science steering committee member and creator of the Bug Bowl that is part of Spring Fest, thinks the upcoming will be a hit for students and parents alike.

"Celebrate Science provides a terrific opportunity to highlight Purdue STEM efforts and to excite these bright and curious young students about the career potential as a scientist," Turpin said.

Leading the Motorsports-STEM initiative is James Caruthers, Purdue's Reilly Professor of Chemical Engineering. Through that, Purdue is partnering with engineering company Dallara, Indianapolis Public Schools, the Metropolitan School District of Decatur and Speedway Schools to use IndyCar racing for engaging student interest in the STEM disciplines.

The initial focus of M-STEM will be developing a middle school curriculum, which eventually can be expanded to upper elementary and high school classes.

Participants in Celebrate Science will include local and national science-based industries and businesses, federal agencies, educational institutions and public institutions with a major emphasis on science or science education.

Lead sponsors for Celebrate Science in Indianapolis event are Dow AgroSciences, Eli Lilly & Co. and the Science Education Foundation of Indiana.

Additional support is provided by Purdue as well as Indiana University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Marian University, WFYI, Beckman Coulter Foundation, Epics High, Hoosier Academies, Butler University, Covance, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Learning Curve, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, and Mad Science.

An inaugural Celebrate Science satellite event in Fort Wayne is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 7) in Walb Union, 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd., on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Organizers include the Northern Indiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Resource Center and IPFW. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Candiss Vibbert, 765-494-9708, vibbert@purdue.edu

Dorothy Reed, 765-494-5572, reed7@purdue.edu

Tom Turpin, 765-494-4568, turpin@purdue.edu

James Caruthers, 765-494-6625, caruther@purdue.edu

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