Family Night in the Sciences
Smith Family Hall transformed into a children’s science wonderland in November when the university’s Science Club joined forces with the LIGO Hanford Observatory public outreach program. Together they presented the first Family Science Night on the Heritage campus, a free event for science exploration that was open to community children and their parents.
“Our goal was to have a variety of experiments that were simple enough that a two-year-old could take a little out of it and that adults could dive in a bit deeper and get more,” said Cresanna Zeigler, club advisor and chemical hygiene officer and lab technician at the university.
The event brought in about 400 children (twice what organizers expected) and their families. Most came from the lower Yakima Valley. Some area schools bused kids to and from the event.
“The schools around the Lower Valley really saw this as an opportunity and got on top of it,” said Jessica Martin, a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Science and treasurer of the club.
The club held the event in an effort to excite kids at an early age about the sciences and to show families the breadth of career opportunities open to scientists. The event was such a success that they are planning next year’s event and anticipating as much as double the attendance.
According to Martin, “The fact that we had so many kids here on our first event goes to show that our community needs more educational activities for kids in the Lower Valley and that our kids are hungry for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).”