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Bilingual Family STEAM Night

By Heath Keirstead | December 30, 2021

In Corvallis, the Latino population increased from 2,800 to 4,660 between 2000 and 2016, and according to the US Census Bureau, 7.8% of the Corvallis population is Latino/a/x (reference).

elementary students at the February 2018 Family STEM Night

As part of an effort to make our programming accessible and relevant to the growing Latino population, in 2018 we partnered with Lincoln School and the OSU Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) undergraduate club to develop a Bilingual Family STEM Night – a first for our area. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Melissa Lemein and I worked with a planning team from OSU SHPE Club and from Lincoln Elementary School (and others) to plan the Bilingual STEM night, which was held Wednesday, February 21. Attendance was better than we even dared to hope and students from Corvallis High School and even South Albany High School attended as Spanish speaking translators for the 33 hands-on science activities provided by our many community partners.

students prepare to demonstrate their STEM design and build challenge vehicles.Then in 2019, this special evening included presenters from 21 organizations and over 35 bilingual volunteers! All told, we provided 35 hands-on activities! With exposure to activities like the ones our partners shared, we hope more students from Lincoln will grow up to choose careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and/or Mathematics. Together we conveyed the message that STEAM fields are for everyone, and STEAM fields NEED everyone! The planning team included: from Lincoln: Julie Wilborn, Armida Guerrero-Gilliam, Naomi Bristow, and Dana Monroe and Lincoln parents: Jasmine Womack and Diana Ryan; from Lincoln Lions Club (Boys and Girls Club): Noemi Salsa; from Benton SWCD: Heath Keirstead and Laura Brown; from OSU: Tina Dodge-Vera (Extension), Ana Aranda (SHPE), and Luis Chaparro (SHPE). Julie Wilborn-Pilotte helped develop the map; Armida Guerrero-Gilliam served as emcee; Laura Brown solicited the donations and food!

Students constuct nests with Dionne Mejia.

STEM Night Flyer in Spanish, shows presenters, donors, and themeSTEM Night Flyer in English, shows presenters, donors, and theme

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About the Author

Heath Keirstead

Heath Keirstead manages Benton SWCD’s Communications and Community Engagement as well as the Native Plant Program and Youth Education. She has a Master’s in Soil Science from Oregon State University. With a dual passion for people and the planet, she loves building relationships with partners, customers, volunteers, and students.

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#youth ed community
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