Wayne State University

CFPCA joins WSU’s annual STEM Day to combine creativity and technology

Wayne State University’s annual STEM Day for 6th-9th grade students included the College of Fine, Performing and Communications Art for the first time this year. The event, welcoming nearly 2,200 students to campus, was held on Tuesday, March 12.

The event, focused on science, technology, engineering and math, provides an environment to learn about various academic programs and prospective career opportunities with hands-on interactive workshops.

“The College was happy to partner on STEM Day and introduce new perspectives involving the arts alongside STEM,” said Kelly Driscoll, the academic services officer who served as the college liaison for the event. “Not only do the arts add an opportunity for students to learn creatively, many people are surprised to learn just how much of the arts involve STEM principles.”

Assistant Professor of Music Technology Dr. Joo Won Park said his hands-on workshop taught students how to use electromagnetic pick-up to detect sounds emitted from electronics around us.

“They learned how to turn one form of energy into another,” he said. “They converted electric signal into sound. They learned that the energy that we use could be changed into something new.”

He said that whenever someone uses an electronic device that has an audio unit component, it emits energy.

“There’s interesting things going on inside the machines and there’s many way to detect what’s going on using different devices,” Park said.

“In a way they learned how to look at things differently inside of technology and science,” he said. “I think the kids learned to look and listen and feel the objects differently. That’s something I encourage my students to do too.”

Professor of Video Productions Susan Palazzolo said she created a stop motion animation ahead of the event for students to create sounds to sync with video.

“They learned some new skills and techniques they hadn’t used before,” she said. “Each group had a distinctly different soundtrack.”

STEM Day Communication StudentsPalazzolo said combining technical knowledge with creativity motivated the students.

“The more the children were working on the creative story building the greater the ideas,” she said. “And then they would take the experiment a little bit further.”

“The sounds we add will change that story. It could make it funny, sad or very dramatic.

“The majority of them had a really good time with it,” she said. “You could hear them just screaming with laughter while they were playing with the different things and trying to figure out what they were going to do.”

She said her intro to video production students got the chance at a “crash course” explaining goals to younger students at the event and engaging them in conversation.

Students who attended STEM Day got a complimentary lunch and a tour of campus.

The event is free to students, teachers and individual and homeschooled students.

To request information on STEM day in 2020, visit forms.wayne.edu/58d063f73bbbf or visit stemday.wayne.edu to check out photos, lesson plans and itineraries from this year’s event.

Written by: Sarah Kominek (Department of Communication, Journalism major)