As Wheeler High School student Sofiya Vyshnya showed elementary students how to care for a broken bone, administer CPR, and take blood pressure, she may have been influencing a younger version of herself to pursue a career in medicine. It was at an educational event, similar to the Wheeler STEAM Symposium where she was working with elementary students, that she herself was inspired to become a doctor.
Sofiya will soon attend the Georgia Institute of Technology to study biomedical engineering, and she says, hopefully, to study cell and tissue engineering.
“We seemed to have gotten a lot of elementary school kids interested. Just like an event like this helped me decide to go into medicine, I hope this will excite them about going into the healthcare pathway. They can take medicine classes when they get in high school,” added Sofiya.
The sixth annual Wheeler STEAM Symposium gave the high school students an opportunity to showcase what they have learned in school about science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This year’s event featured 95 exhibits and about 200 students.
Wheeler invited all five of the high school’s elementary feeder schools to bring their fifth graders so they could explore the exhibits and get a sneak peak of what they will be learning in the future.
“We know that the elementary school teachers are doing a great job with the STEM and STEAM integration in their classes, but there is something magical when our high school students are involved with our elementary students, and our elementary students can see where they are going to be,” explained Cheryl Crooks, Advanced Placement Magnet coordinator for the Center for Advanced Studies at Wheeler. “There is an excitement in the arena. It is the synergy of all the students sharing what they are doing with STEM and STEAM.”
The high school students manning exhibits didn’t only educate the visiting elementary students, they also talked to teachers, parents, and even school board members. Tenth grader Samuel was representing the Wheeler High School Robotics Club when he showed Board Member David Banks how to operate one of the robots.
“Talking to the Board member about the individual parts of the robot really shows how much we have grown and how much I have grown as an individual in the robotics field. It has been a great experience,” Samuel explained.
By operating the robots that his team built for competitions, the STEAM Symposium gave Samuel an opportunity to demonstrate what he and his teammates had accomplished during the year.
Sedalia Park Elementary School fifth grader Jamarris really enjoyed watching Samuel and his teammates maneuver their robots.
“I really liked the robots, how they are controlled and how they are built,” Jamarris said.
High school students were not the only ones who set up exhibits to showcase what they learned during the school year.
Pharrah, an Eastvalley Elementary School first grader, and other elementary school students exercised their STEAM skills, too.
“I’m showing them how opposites attract and how magnets, if they are the same, will repel,” explained Pharrah, who had never visited a high school before.
In order to showcase all the diverse skills and talents within the Wheeler school community, the symposium also included exhibits from non-STEAM subject areas, as well as students with special needs and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students.
“I think the STEAM Symposium is important because we got to come and see all the different things that there are in STEAM. It was really interesting,” added Sope Creek Elementary School fifth grader Bianca.