It’s a science, technology, engineering, and math project for kids all wrapped up in one in a building, at Naval Base Ventura County.
But, what almost like an art class is actually a model bridge building project. Dozens of kids being helped by mentors are cutting and gluing together sticks of linguini. They have to use math, science, and engineering skills to create the lightest possible segment which will hold the most weight.
Reggie Vasquez is one of the kids, and he says it’s a fun challenge.
There are 18 schools from seven Ventura County school districts involved. The object of the effort is to help stir interest among the kids in science and technology related fields.
Dr. Ramon Flores is coordinator of the STEM efforts at Naval Surface Warfare Center Point Mugu. He says the hope is the program will inspire some children to get into science and technology fields.
Watching the kids in action is Rich Burr. Burr is Director of the Naval Air Systems Command For Threat Target Systems. Burr says between test facilities in Ventura County, and China Lake near Ridgecrest, that are always openings for technology jobs. There are about 6000 employees, so with retirements and other turnover, it creates hundreds of job openings a year.
But, as the kids work on the bridge building project, they aren’t thinking careers, they’re just looking at a fun challenge. Cal State Channel Islands Professor Greg Wood helped develop the bridge span project. He says he hopes the kids walked away a little more interested in science and engineering.