Fort Smith Students Selected For Texas S.T.E.M. Event

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Lexi Windsor and Garrett Clark, left, demonstrate a Velocity Vortex Generator which shoots a plastic ball in the air by manipulating the air molecules inside an insulated Styrofoam coffee cup.

Five students from the Union Christian Academy were selected to be student ambassadors by IBM during a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) gathering of several companies and hundreds of middle school students in the Dallas area last week, according to a news release put out today.

“Students selected from Union were Garret Clark, 8th Grade; Tal Miranda, 8th Grade; Charlotte Fox, 8th Grade; Stetson VanMatre, 6th Grade; and Lexi Windsor, 8th Grade,” the release stated.

“Each of those students excelled in Union’s recent STEM Fair held last November at the school, and were invited to participate by Charla Stracener, a Senior Information Technology Architect with IBM’s Global Solution Center in Dallas.  Stracener recently moved to Fort Smith and began looking for high achieving middle school students who could participate in the DiscoverE event by teaching a STEM project to other students their same age,” the news release continued.

Every year, IBM participates in the Texas event that encourages students to consider careers in engineering, technology, and science. The DiscoverE event was held at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History.

“They thoroughly knew their activity and as a result, they prepared as much as they could and did a phenomenal job!” Stracener said.  “There were several IBM engineers accompanying them throughout the day, but they remained in the background for the activity unless they were needed.”

Shelly Robbins, Science teacher for Union’s Middle School Academy, coordinated the STEM Fair at Union and was thrilled when Stracener contacted her.  “I was so excited we were asked to participate in this wonderful opportunity to be ambassadors for Fort Smith and for Union Christian Academy.”

Andie Plymale, Secondary Principal at Union, said that the Fort Worth museum’s director was so impressed with the students and some of the experiments that she will use them to teach other school groups when they come through the museum.  “She was so excited about the Velocity Vortex Generator and why it worked the way it did that she’s going to use it in the future and give credit to Union Christian students.”

The Union Christian Academy is a fully accredited, non-denominational Christian school located in Fort Smith.