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Students Bring Joy of STEM to Ecuador

Westmont engineering students returned to Quito, Ecuador, in May to share their love of science, technology, engineering and math with children in an after-school program. The seven engineering students, Jonny Reitinger, Jonah Swanson, Jacob Bailey, Maria Judy, Elijah Cicileo, Becca Hudson and Tasha Loh, designed and built STEM educational materials to share with the children. They were joined by Dan Jensen, director of Westmont engineering, and a Compassion International representative.

Dan Jensen instructs students on the heli-disk kit
Dan Jensen instructs students on the helidisk kit

The educational kits consisted of small, hands-on devices that the children assembled and then operated. One kit emphasized understanding of energy produced from solar cells, a hand-crank generator and a lithium battery. The energy was used to launch a “helidisk.” The other kit allowed the Ecuadorian children to write a computer program for a controller that ran a small, remote-control car that the children assembled. They then used their controller and RC car to race through a timed course while knocking over small bowling pins.

Westmont, other schools and Compassion International formed Christian Collective for Social Innovation, a partnership that operates the after-school program Academia Matices. This is the second year that Westmont students have participated in the program.