Rutherford County, TN - MTSU hosted the fifth annual RCS STEM Expo on Monday, where Rutherford County Schools’ students showcased their projects designed to solve real-world problems or create solutions.
Stephanie Finley, a Science and STEM specialist with RCS, organized the event. "The 2023 EXPO has definitely grown from last year. We have 40 more projects and 30 more students participating,” Finley said.
The event allows students to interact with professionals from local industries and secondary education, creating opportunities to explore future careers and potential.
“The EXPO provides students with a unique opportunity to present original research,” Finley said. “This valuable experience provides a bridge from school to college and career. Most importantly, students feel valued and important all while gaining confidence to continue their passions at the next stage of their life.” More than 175 volunteers helped make the EXPO possible.
Projects were judged by community members and volunteers who calculated a score out of 10 categories, including driving questions, significance of content, hypothesis, student voice, communication of information, and revision/reflection.
“To all of the community members, teachers, students, co-workers, industry partners, friends, and spouses who helped with set-up and tear down, STEM stations, project evaluations, data aggregation, registration, and making music playlists, I am thankful for your willingness to support the STEM Expo,” Finley said. “A big thank you to MTSU for providing the venue, student T-shirts, Best of Category medals, banners, and the $1,000 scholarship! MTSU went above and beyond to support our district. Finally, I want to give a shout out to Chef Ingram and Stockwell and his student crew from Smyrna High School Culinary Arts for the amazing food they provided in the hospitality room.”
Although many students presented incredible projects, only one project was chosen as best of show. Catherine Lewis, Christa Cooper and Anna Clark won best in category and best of show for their project “Tutor Time,” and each student was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to MTSU. “Tutor Time” received a perfect evaluation score — the highest score in this and last year’s STEM expo.
“Tutor Time,” is an online program that allows students to connect with tutors their own age. The program also connects students other academic resources including practice quizzes and study materials.
"I am proud of all of the students that presented at the Expo, but I am especially proud of the women who stepped foot on stage to receive awards Monday night,” Finley said. “Some of these women I know personally and have had the opportunity to mentor in some form or fashion over the past several years. Some I had just met. Either way, these ladies are on to bigger and better things in STEM and will one day continue to represent and empower other women in STEM.
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