Math and Science Expo to encourage attendees to have interest in those fields

by Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting its annual Science and Math Expo on Thursday, March 26, from 2:30 – 6 p.m.
The event is open to Sumner County children in K-8, and their families, who want to learn about Science and Math.
Parris Powers, associate professor of Chemistry, has been a coordinator of the Expo since its conception 14 years ago.
“The Science and Math Expo is a community outreach that is sponsored by the Math and Science Division and is primarily directed by our science students and math students.
“They work in groups of two, three and four and develop and present hands on activities in the science and the math disciplines,” said Powers.
Powers said the attendance is usually between 300 and 500 community children, but it really depends on the weather.
“Most years we’ve had really good weather and there’s been a few years where we’ve had some rain and weather issues, but that usually doesn’t dampen the turn out too much but the better the day is, the better our attendance,” said Powers.
Dr. Glenn McCombs, instructor of Biology, is also a coordinator of the event.
“We love to host the Expo because it offers a fun way to learn and the whole family can enjoy it all for free. It is a great informal way to connect our community to our Vol State students through their service learning efforts,” said McCombs.
“Most of the activities are primarily in [the Wallace] building. We’ll have up to 50 hands-on activities in our two chemistry labs and three lecture rooms.
“We’ll have some activities outside and we also have the Fisk Vanderbilt planetarium in the gym,” said Powers.
McCombs said that for someone who has been in Science education for more than 20 years, the question of why it is important for young people to learn about Science and Math, is a big one.
“It is most important that young people use their time in and out of school to soak up everything they can because you don’t know until you try. No matter what direction you pursue, a strong foundation in science and math is valuable.
“Although certainly not exclusive to science and math, these areas are all about asking new questions, discovering innovative ways to answer them, and just plain solving problems. This world definitely needs more problem solvers,” said McCombs.
“[The main goal of this event is] to excite our community in science and math . . . to foster inquiry and excitement,” said Powers.
Dr. Billy Dye, instructor of Biology, said events like the Expo give benefits to both the college and the community.
“Hands-on opportunities to see science in action ignite a child’s curiosity, which is the heart of science itself.
“The Expo is student-led, allowing our Vol State students the incredible opportunity to design and implement their own ideas and projects. Community colleges are truly about the community, and events like the Expo help strengthen the relationship between the college and the people we are here to serve,” said Dye.