Imagine RIT 2010 Innovation + Creativity Festival on 5/1- Don’t Miss It!!!

April 25, 2010


Imagine RIT is an annual festival held by The Rochester Institute of Technology each spring to showcase the innovative and creative spirit of RIT students, faculty, and staff.  In the words of RIT President Bill Destler, the festival shows what can happen when, “the right and left brain collide.”  

This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, May 1st from 10 am to 5 pm throughout the campus of RIT.   

Attendees of the festival will experience  interactive presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and exhibitions. You can plan your day in advance by visiting the festival’s  2010 program and searching for the “Zone” that most interests you.  Zones include: The Think Tank, Artistic Alley, Engineering Park, Computer Zone, Green Place, and Technology Quarter.  You can add specific exhibits from each Zone to your itinerary, download the itinerary, and print it.  Customzing your visit in advance will help you save time and focus on the areas that interest you the most. 

Some of the displays and activities especially designed for young visitors are:

  • Free Popcorn
  • Wonderful World of Tiny Animals
  • Reduced Fat Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
  • FIRST Robotics/Lego League Experience
  • Make Your Own Kind of Music!
  • Engineering Exploration Lab
  • Auto Etch-a-Sketch
  • Fluids Are Fun!
  • Science In Your Kitchen
  • Automated Hot Dog Assembler

    Another highlight of Imagine RIT is the annual festival poster contest. This year, there were 66 entries and 5,000 votes by members of the RIT community.  Each  entry can be seen on the Imagine RIT website.  This is a great competition that encourages students to merge creativity with the STEM fields.  Thomas Sokolowski, a first-year chemical engineering student from Rochester won this year’s contest with a stunning galactic themed entry.  

    The 2010 Imagine RIT winning poster


    Another unique contest offered through Imagine RIT is the “Dr. Destler’s Green Vehicle Challenge.”   The challenge will take  place at 9:00 am on May 1 at the Simone Circle on the RIT campus and is open to the public.  RIT students will design and construct a vehicle that carries at least one > 150 Ib. person on an approximately 3 mile route along the RIT loop.  The vehicle must use less total energy per 150 Ib. person than Dr. Destler’s electric bicycle.  The winner of the challenge will be announced at the festival’s Opening Ceremony at 10:00 a.m.  The winning team may choose a banjo from RIT President Dr. Destler’s collection or $1,000.  


    Creativity plays an important role in education and RIT understands that.  The Imagine RIT festival shows that STEM education is not simply about science, technology, engineering and math — but about self-expression, teamwork, environmentalism, and mindfulness.  The Center for Excellence in Math and Science highly recommends that everyone in the community visit the RIT campus on May 1, 2010.  

    by Allison Wang – Graduate Assistant – Center for Excellence in Math and Science  

    and Caurie Miner Putnam – Program Coordinator – Center for Excellence in Math and Science STEM Mentors Program

    2010 Earth Day Celebration at Hamlin Beach State Park 4/24!

    April 21, 2010

    What is a great way to celebrate Earth Day 2010? Attend the 3rd Annual Earth Day in the Park at Hamlin Beach State Park on Saturday, April 24th from 10 am to 2 pm!

     Last year, over 200 people came out to visit displays about alternative energy, ethanol, green building technologies, water fowl, etc. Additionally, there was an alternative energy/green car show, beach cleanup, and seedling planting event. Vendors were also selling environmentally friendly wares. This year, there will be 25 educational booths.

    This exciting Earth Day event is sponsored by the New York State Parks, the Town of Hamlin, SUNY Brockport and the Hamlin Lions Club. Highlights this year include:

    * Live Entertainment from the Dady Brothers from 1pm-2pm

    * Beach Cleanup starting at 11:30 am along beach in areas 2&4

    * Seedling plantings in the nursery

    * Tour of CCC/POW site for planned interpretive trail (2:30pm)

    * Free Tree seedlings to the first 100 attendees

    * 89.1 The Point, The college Radio Station will be broadcasting LIVE!!

    * Used eyeglasses and hearing aids collection to benefit the Lions Club

    * Free Admission to the Park!

    Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Time: 10AM-2PM

    Location: Hamlin Beach State Park Area 4

    Email for a flier or more information

    Down to a Science – Cool Kids EcoFests make Environmental Issues Fun!

    April 19, 2010

    Lily Walker, 4, of Bergen with a sapling from EcoFest.

    Environmental science can be cool, creative, and fun—that was the message at the fifth annual Cool Kids EcoFest on April 17th at Genesee Community College. 

    The EcoFest attracted 1,000 visitors to environmental displays and activities from over 50 green businesses and organizations—such as the Iroquois Nature Preserve, Braddock Bay Raptor Research, The Sierra Club, the Oatka Creek Watershed Committee, the NY Geographic Alliance, and the Wildlife Educators Coalition.    

    Lily Walker, 4, of Bergen, most enjoyed the display by The Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation.  She gingerly cradled the free seedling the group gave her as her mother, Caroline, said she loved the event.  Walker learned about EcoFest from a flier the Byron Bergen school district sent home.  “It keeps the kids entertained while getting the message about the environment across to everyone,” Walker said.    

    That is the precise goal of the EcoFest’s Director Steve Appleton.  Appleton created the event not just to make environmental issues appealing to children, but also to adults.  “Most kids are already in-tune with recycling and the environment, but this is to help the whole family learn that environmental stuff can be fun,” Appleton said, “I specifically made it an after school event to address parents—to bring them into their kids world.”    

    Some displays parents seemed most drawn to were:  Cabot Cheese samples, giveaways of TOPS Friendly Markets and Monroe County Dept. of Environmental Science reusable bags, a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid display and a Mercury Switch-Out sponsored by AAA of WNY where AAA removed the mercury switch hood lamp from cars 2002 or older.    

    Jeannette Elia, 12, of Bativia, demonstrating how to knit with plastic bags at EcoFest.

    Appleton also drew in people of all ages with free raffle tickets  in exchange for donating e-scraps (such as old computers), old sneakers, and bottles and cans.  The tickets could be used to enter drawings for green prizes, like a mountain bike.  By the event’s end an astounding 26,000 pounds of electronic junk and 290 pairs of sneakers were collected for recycling.   

    The lessons of EcoFest made an impression on all who attended, especially a group of future teachers.  The Genesee Community College Education Club staffed a “Let’s Morph – Butterfly Table.” Lauren Humphrey, an earth science major at GCC who will be transferring to SUNY Geneseo’s Geological Sciences program, learned some things she plans to apply to a future science classroom of her own.  “This is such a great event for earth science,” said Humphrey, “I’ve watched the kids get so excited planting seeds and getting their free seedlings…that stuff is real and makes the environment real to them.”   

    Future teachers from the GCC Education Club at their Butterfly Table.

    Appleton plans to hold a 6th EcoFest at GCC next Spring, however, if you can’t wait that long the 2nd Annual Cool Kids EcoFest in Corning is this coming weekend.  The Corning EcoFest will be held on Saturday, April 24th 2010 from 11 am to 3 pm at Corning Community College in Corning, New York.  For more information visit this link.  Cool Kids also sponsors free, GREEN themed performances in the Village of  Brockport on Friday nights during the Summer.  Bookmark The STEM Blog for more information and a summer schedule.

    The massive E-Scrap Drive at EcoFest.

    DJ Stephen Wright from WGCC with one of the bowls made from recycled records the organization was selling.

    4-H Today – An organization seeding STEM education

    April 13, 2010

    Campers at a local 4-H STEM summer camp during a Critter Care project.

    4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, life, career, and STEM skills. The mission of 4H is to “empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.” Today, 5 million of those youth are actively engaged in exciting science, engineering, and technology projects.

    We all know America is falling dangerously behind other nations in developing its future workforce of scientists, engineers, and technology experts. In order to better prepare our next generation, the 4-H youth development program plays an important role in our country. 4-H provides youth development programs that focus on “hands-on”science learning for children throughout the country.

    The 4-H has been growing tremendously in the past few years. The Noyce Foundation recently announced its continued support of 4-H’s Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) programming with a $1.73 million gift. With the support from Noyce Foundation, 4-H will continue to grow and bring more positive influence on children.

    Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Program Leader Timothy Davis stated that a study conducted by Cornell University found 4-H participation makes a difference in the lives of New York State youth and contributes to positive youth development. Research has confirmed that youth who are involved in the program are more likely to be educationally motivated and have higher self-esteem.

    Davis also seen 4-H have a life long impact on its members.  According to Davis, many youth go to college and follow career paths based on their involvement in 4-H program. For example, studying water quality in 4-H could lead to a biology major in college. Or, a strong nutrition experience could set the stage for a career in science. Often times American students pick their majors without having strong interest in the disciplines. But by participating in 4-H programs, students can explore their interests at an early age and will be better prepared to chose a major.

    Participants in 4-H also have an opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities. GeoSeekr 4-H club is a group of young adults who use geospatial science to benefit their communities. In 2009, the club worked with Emergency Management Services to produce a GIS map identifying the fire hydrant locations for the village of Manchester. In 2010, the club will be working with the Planning and Research Department to develop a GIS map of historical marker in Ontario County. The young adults get the chance to learn something different every year!

    Members of the Geo-Seekers 4-H Club recording fire hydrant locations using GPS units to later develop a GIS map for the Village of Manchester.

    Other local 4-H programs include Geneva’s North Street School Afterschool 4-H program where approximately 75 elementary students have the opportunity to participate in various SET activities such as woodworking, rocketry, animal science, plant science, and food science. Local 4-H also offers several STEM summer camps.  During 4-H STEM camp, campers spend the week doing hands-on science experiments, taking field trips, and enjoying guest speakers. Additionally, local 4-H also offers an immersion experience where students explore agriculture and food management in Upstate New York. They visit different farms and agriculture/food management businesses  in the Finger Lakes for tours, discussions, and experiential activities.


    As educators and parents, we are obligated to cultivate their interest in STEM field. There are different ways to do so both in and out of school. Joining 4-H could be the most interactive and fun learning experience a particular childs experiences while figuring out what STEM is all about! You are encouraged to check out their website for more information about this great organization.