STEMania: A Small Step for Young Architects, a Giant Leap for the Future of Design

On Thursday, October 27th, Bernabe Longoria and I participated in the Weatherford College Wise County STEMania event for the 4th year. This year's event allowed area fourth graders and their teachers to take a field trip to Weatherford College Wise County campus to receive hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Over 50 different careers were represented at the event by companies all across the Metroplex. Each company has a station to demonstrate career fields with an interactive activity, presentation, or demonstration.

We presented a 'City Building' activity to the students. Students became 'first lunar architects' and were tasked with building the first city on the surface of the moon using construction paper and tape. Once structures are built they are taped to large printouts of the lunar surface. The goal was to have them create something entirely new instead of replicating what is seen on a daily basis. Having the activity take place in space helps the kids use their imagination and think creatively.

Throughout the day, a few hundred students put their mark on the moon. The surface went from dust to a bustling metropolitan center with prominent businesses such as the MoonDonald's, Moonsboro Bank, The Hangout Place, and the Chicken Barn. The activity was abstract and fun but still demonstrated how we, as architects, have to think creatively and iteratively instead of linearly. It's a characteristic that's very essential to architecture and design, but also applicable in many other career fields.

I was honored to be invited back to STEMania to get the students excited about architecture. I think these events are critical for both our profession and the students that we are interacting with. Depending where we hold these career day activities, a large portion of students might not even know what an architect is or does. We have a great opportunity to open doors to students who may not have considered architecture as a profession. We also have a responsibility to educate our communities about architecture and the impact it can have, which makes these events very important. I look forward continuing to partner with Weatherford College and share their passion for educating the upcoming workforce.