Science at "Arts Fest Kids Day"
Each July, State College and the Penn State University Park campus hosts thousands of visitors for the annual Central Pennsylcvania Festival of the Arts. The first day of the festival, known as "Children and Youth Day" (or "Arts Fest Kids Day"), celebrates the curiosity and creativity of kids. For many years, the Penn State MRSEC has coordinated a large science outreach presence on Old Main Lawn. MRSEC booths are lead by the Public Outreach Team with a total of ~80 volunteers. Graduate students work with undergraduates from the Interdisciplinary Materials & Physics REU program and high school students from the Upward Bound Math & Science Program (UBMS) to design, prepare, and present interactive science activities and demonstrations to ~1300 visitors. The effort not only inspires smiles for science in front of the table, volunteers experience even greater impact behind the table. Benefits include a comraderie that develops from the vertical mentorship structure, which provides support and encourages retention, and repeated opportunties to practice, model, and perfect effective science communication.
Other science outreach programs and events at Penn State:
MRSEC members also serve as volunteers for programs and events lead by others.