RIT K-12 represented at annual Maker Faire Rochester

Dana Storti

Dr. Salsbery, an outreach specialist with Army Educational Outreach Program Apprenticeships and Fellowships through RIT’s K-12 University Center, engaged with students at Maker Faire Rochester, and helped lead a science activity that sparked creativity and curiosity in a project to make a flying machine from only three supplies.

This year, the K-12 University Center at Rochester Institute of Technology made its mark at Maker Faire Rochester – a gathering held annually to provide individuals with an outlet to display the work they do through hobbies, experiments and projects, with engineers, artists, scientists and various other crafters.

Celebrating its first event in 2014, the event included more than 200 exhibitors and an estimated 7,200 attendees, including representatives from RIT K-12 programs, such as AEOP Apprenticeships and Fellowships, and STEP.

“Although the STEP team and scholars have attended the Maker Faire in previous years, this was my first time and it was a great experience,” said Kierra McInnis, an outreach specialist with Army Educational Outreach Program Apprenticeships and Fellowships, who also helps support the Science and Technology Entry Program. “(It) featured a wide range of hands-on activities, covering all aspects of STEAM, including virtual reality, soldering and sewing. Students were given the opportunity to explore, experiment and leave with a plethora of materials – many of which were created themselves under the guidance of the volunteer makers.”

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Army Educational Outreach Program Apprenticeships and Fellowships is administered by the K-12 center on behalf of the U.S. Army to provide high school through postdoctoral individuals with paid opportunities in STEM research, alongside professional scientists and engineers from across the country. The Science and Technology Entry Program, also known as STEP, is a state-funded precollegiate initiative that provides academic outreach to seventh- through 12th-grade students from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups to support pursuing college and careers in STEM fields, as well as New York state licensed professions.

Through the event, K-12 staff worked with those from RIT’s newly-opened SHED at a booth to help represent the university by providing information about admissions, K-12 programming and more. They also led an interactive science activity where students made a flying machine from an index card, straw and tape that volunteers said helped spark creativity and curiosity among the youth participants.

“As a community-based organization, this is the kind of thing we live for,” said Miranda Salsbery, outreach specialist with AEOP Apprenticeships and Fellowships. “It was really nice to be able to represent both RIT and our various (K-12) branches all at once.”


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