VanBommel boosts STEM night attendance

Marissa Elementary held its annual STEM Night for students and families on February 26. The event promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by bringing in guest experts in various STEM fields. This year's event featured Scott VanBommel, research scientist in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. VanBommel talked about working on multiple Mars rover missions as well as his expedition to Antarctica in search of meteorites.

Before the evening event, VanBommel spent the afternoon speaking with Marissa Elementary's 3rd through 6th grade students. Science and mathematics teacher David Lerch credits VanBommel with boosting STEM Night attendance.

"This year's STEM Night was the biggest attendance we've ever had," Lerch said. "We had over 120 students in attendance, including students in preschool through 8th grade. Last year we had 60 people total, counting students and their parents. This awesome turnout was in large part due to how well Scott did during the day, encouraging students to attend the event that evening."

Lerch and VanBommel hope this event will mark the start of an annual partnership between Marissa Elementary and Washington University's McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences.

Scott VanBommel talking to students at Marissa Elementary
Scott VanBommel talking to students at Marissa Elementary