Recently I went to the AISES 40th annual conference because of my participation in the O-RETINAS program at the University of Arizona. This was a phenomenal experience. I was able to go to so many sessions that directly or indirectly related to classroom instruction. At the session “An Innovative Approach to STEM Engagement” presented by Melinda Higgins, I learned about a new device developed by the Department of Energy which I can make using a 3-D printer and simple beads to attach to a cell phone and turn it into a microscope. I really enjoyed talking with various grad students to high school students who presented their posters regarding their primary research. Each person was very engaging and there was so much research on environmental issues, which is my forte.
Another session I attended due to volunteering was “Why Every Tribal Building should be Net Zero” by Michael Laverdure. I wouldn’t have chosen this session on my own but I was encouraged to learn that such buildings are possible. I also was able to make contact with so many companies and picked up so many brochures about opportunities out there for my STEM students. I am building a bulletin board now with these brochures. I also found out about a robotics program which is very affordable. I am currently working to help launch a STEM after-school program at my school and because of this session, I am exploring doing robotics from KISS Institute for Practical Robotics.
Overall, it was a great conference and I learned so many new things that will help my students.
Interested in learning more about the O-RETINAS program? Check it out here!