Marymount University Volunteers Inspire Awe at Elementary Science Fair

The students at Fort Belvoir Elementary School weren’t the only ones inspired by Thursday night’s STEAM/Science Fair. Marymount University’s Gianna Fogelbach was inspired as well.

“Working with these children reminds me of why I’m doing what I’m doing,” said Fogelbach, a senior from Germantown, Maryland. “They’re so engaged and serious and ask incredibly intelligent questions. It’s not only fun for them but it’s obvious that they truly want to better their understanding of science.”

Fogelbach was one of 70 MU education majors who helped out with 15 different hands-on activities related to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Math). More than 500 children, parents and other family members packed the school’s gym for the fifth annual event from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Fogelbach and Ashley Yuan, a junior from Reston, worked at a table where students learned how to recycle newspaper by chopping it up in a blender, adding water, dye and glitter, then straining it to dry.

“They loved it because they could touch it and make a big mess,” Yuan said. “We would get a smile out of them right away, and their excitement was contagious.”

Other activities ranged from making stomp rockets from plastic bottles and Alka-Seltzer to creating oobleck, a substance that’s not quite a liquid or a solid. Dr. Eric Bubar, a Marymount assistant professor of physical sciences, did experiments with electricity and demonstrated inertia by spinning the Fort Belvoir students on stools.

Thanks to the work of Marymount Professor of Education Dr. Usha Rajdev, the university has partnered with the elementary school for five years. In addition to events like the one held Thursday night, MU students shadow Fort Belvoir teachers and conduct hands-on after-school activities.

At the science fair, students in kindergarten through sixth grade entered projects.

Third-grader Beatrice Devlin, age 8, was attending for the second straight year.

“I like science in school because we get to do a lot of experiments,” she said. “The best thing I like about it is if you mess up, you get to try and do it again.”

Nancy Rowland, the school’s STEAM program coordinator, said the Marymount students make a huge difference at Fort Belvoir.

“Their dedication is remarkable,” Rowland said. “They come in force, are energetic and have such a love for science and the children. They’re going to be wonderful professionals and will make a real difference out in the workplace.”

Photo Captions

Photo 1
Marymount University graduate student Sophie Eckl talks with students at the STEAM/Science Fair at Fort Belvoir Elementary School. Photo by Karen Tate

Photo 2
Marymount University students Ashley Yuan and Amy Brinckman had their hands full helping students recycle newspaper at the STEAM/Science Fair at Fort Belvoir Elementary School. Photo by Karen Tate

Photo 3
Dr. Eric Bubar, an assistant professor of physical sciences at Marymount University, wowed students with electricity demonstrations at the STEAM/Science Fair at Fort Belvoir Elementary School. Photo by Karen Tate