Fifth STEMfest showcases student projects, class assignments in science fields

Nikta Mansouri

As a demonstration of hydroelectric engineering at the annual “STEMfest,” a Tesla representative drove into the quad while students and teachers surrounded it on May 20 during activities period.

Students from various clubs and classes set up 38 tables and 60 events around the quad and in the lounge to display assignments and projects.

This is the fifth installment of the showing of projects involving science, technology, engineering and math around school. The quad and Chalmers were packed with students presenting projects and learning about their peers’ work, playing games and eating cupcakes.
“I really enjoyed STEMfest,” Oliver Goodman-Waters ’14 said. “It’s really great to see the hard work of many of my friends and colleagues manifest itself in incredibly interesting and fascinating projects. I certainly learned a lot walking around the quad last Monday.”
STEMfest was different than years past as there was a “huge, huge emphasis on the interest in building computers, using code to create art, students working with the results of the Harvard-Westlake Sports Science research, student created videos, statistics to make decisions about sports,” STEMfest coordinator and Math Department Head Paula Evans said.
The aroma of fresh waffles lingered in Chalmers as Molecular Gastronomy students Nick Nathanson ’13 and Byron Lazaroff-Puck ’13 used liquid nitrogen to crystalize the eggs and heavy cream custard to thicken the ice cream base.
Rap and pop music filled the quad while tables such as “math in popular music,” “artists who code,” and a game of roulette were set up to show how science effects everyday life.
Dory Graham ’13 and Senior Alumni Officer Harry Salamandra, contacted Tesla and asked if they would provide a car for STEMfest and they agreed. Tesla is pushing the boundaries on electric technologies which is why Graham contacted them, she said. Graham’s presentation compared the Tesla and Fisker, another electric car company.
“It was super awesome of Tesla to do that since they really had no incentive other than to share their technology with our school,” Graham said. “I’m not sure any other car company would have done that, especially for a student, and on short notice.”
Alumni also presented in the fest. Tess Hatch ’11 talked about engineering in college and Melissa Gottlieb (owner of Skinny Batches Baker) brought samples of healthy baked goods, demonstrating molecular gastronomy. These samples will also be available during finals as care packages, Evans said.
HW Works operated a table on the quad offering students internship applications in the STEM fields.
Due to the success of the first SciBowl match in October, a second game between students and teachers was scheduled but was canceled because many of the math and science teachers were involved in other STEM festivities.