STEM kits given to local classrooms affected by Hurricane Harvey

04.05.2018 | By Jeannie Peng Mansyur

PASADENA, Texas – Dow Chemical Company and San Jacinto College joined forces this semester to replenish supplies in science classrooms across the Deer Park, Galena Park, La Porte, Sheldon and Pasadena Independent School Districts after losses the schools suffered from Hurricane Harvey. 

Thanks to a $9,500 grant from Dow, San Jacinto College created science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) kits for educators to produce the same experiments seen at the College’s annual MindTrekkers. MindTrekkers, sponsored by Dow and other industry partners, is a two-day festival that invites 4,500 to 6,000 sixth-graders to the College's Central Campus for hundreds of experiments and activities that relate to the STEM fields. These activities include physics experiments, making music out of fruit, antigravity displays, how to build a robot and testing depth perception. The Dow grant-funded STEM kits will be shared with more than 500 students across the districts.

“This grant allows Dow to provide students and teachers with a sense of continuation by delivering some of the popular MindTrekkers experiments to them in the classroom,” said Mayra Rodriguez Cochran, operational excellence leader for Dow Chemical Company. “We’ve operated in this community for over 50 years, and San Jacinto College has always been there for us. This was a natural partnership to help our community.”

Traci Moody, science peer facilitator at Keller Middle School, was one of the educators recently invited to test out the kits by participating in a session at San Jacinto College on how to use the materials for each MindTrekker activity. Moody has brought three separate groups of sixth-graders to the MindTrekkers STEM festival over the years. 

“When we found out about getting these kits, we were excited because now we’ll able to bring the MindTrekkers experiments to even more students at our school,” said Moody. “A lot of our students will be first generation college students, and it’s a wonderful feeling seeing the excitement on their faces when they get the opportunity to perform these experiments.”

The STEM kits also serve as a way to reinforce college concepts, starting early in middle school, according to Dr. Rachel Garcia, department chair of physical sciences at San Jacinto College. 

In addition to sponsoring MindTrekkers, Dow also partners with San Jacinto College for instrumentation apprenticeship training. For more information about STEM education at San Jacinto College, visit sanjac.edu/stem-council.

About San Jacinto College 

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each year benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce. 

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.