Silly Science Sunday Spawns Oh Wow's! 7 Days of STEM

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Silly Science Sunday was just too good to keep contained to one day last September, so Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology and its partners are incorporating the event into a week of activities for children, teens and adults.

This year, the event will conclude the 7 Days of STEM Youngstown Regional Science & Technology Festival, a week-long celebration of the STEM disciplines,  science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Representatives of Oh Wow! and its partners announced details of the festival, to be held Sept. 15-21, during a news conference Tuesday at the Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator, one of the participants.

“The objective is to offer STEM education to the most number of people and to learners of all ages, so the event will be designated for families, for teens and for adults only,” said Katie Seminara, Oh Wow! assistant manager. Oh Wow!’s exhibits and programs are primarily geared toward ages children so the festival’s activities are designed to serve a wider demographic.

Events will take place at locations around the area, including the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, Iron Roots Urban Farm and downtown restaurants. 

This will be the third year for Silly Science Sunday “and we looked at a way to grow this and make it a more community-focused event,” said Oh Wow! board member Alexa Sweeney Blackann, business manager for Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Boardman. Planners secured a $10,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which will allow the partners to stage a week of activities.

“Youngstown is one of 11 cities to participate in a multiday science festival, and because of that we’re able to offer Silly Science Sunday free this year to the community,” Sweeney Blackann reported. 

Events and activities will include a robotics competition featuring teams from Ohio and Pennsylvania; planetarium shows, an urban farm tour and STEM team trivia challenge.

The goal of From STEM to Table: Science of Local Food, which will take place at the Common Wealth incubator, “is to show people that STEM isn’t just something you study in school but it’s involved in everything you do, including the food you cook,” said Tom Phibbs, a small business development coach at the incubator. Phibbs owns The Lettuce People, which sells supplies for hydroponic gardening and grows lettuce for area restaurants using hydroponics in the lower level of the incubator.

The event, which is among the activities which participants will be required for pay for, will highlight local food and farm businesses. Presenters include Danny Catullo of Catullo Prime Meats, who will give a demonstration on deconstructing a chicken, Sophia Buggs of Lady Buggs Farm, who will conduct a workshop on fermenting, and the Sprouted Table. Tickets for the event, which will take place Sept. 18, are $50 per person.

Eating locally grown food not only provides health benefits but economic and environmental benefits, Phibbs pointed out.  “If people would just spend $10 every week [locally] on their grocery good bill that could bring millions of dollars for our local economy,” he remarked.  

Other partners and participants include the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Youngstown State University, America Makes and Mill Creek MetroParks.

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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