CTA team members create fun engineering activity for Billings STEM Saturday event

This past Saturday, Hollie Mellgren, Jennifer Parkhurst, and Allyn Jorgensen from CTA Billings volunteered to help local 2nd through 8th-grade students with hands-on engineering activities as part of Billings STEM Saturday’s “Adventures in Engineering” event. STEM Billings holds three to four events per school year to engage local students in STEM activities. Over 130 kids signed up for the most recent event!

So, what do two mechanical engineers and one structural engineer opt to do for their activity? Electrical engineering, of course! We built electrical circuits from aluminum foil, cut up holiday light strands, and nine-volt batteries. Even if the kids didn’t realize it, they learned about series and parallel circuits while having fun, problem-solving, and engineering along the way!

I’m always amazed at the creativity that comes out of these events. Yes, that is a heart-shaped circuit!

We also had wonderful help from a few of our School STEM Officers, which is a new program in Billings this year. Each middle and high school student in the area has the opportunity to apply to serve as a STEM Officer; selectees are matched up with a mentor in a field of their interest to help involve them in furthering STEM learning in their schools and community. This year, we have about a dozen local professionals (including CTA Billings’ Jennifer Parkhurst and Allyn Jorgensen) serving as mentors to 20 students.

This fun and exciting opportunity for the Billings community kiddos would not happen without the efforts of Dan Carter with ExxonMobil. He continues to organize volunteers for STEM Saturday and other events, and has brought the STEM School Officer program to life this fall. Big thanks go out to Dan!

Feel free to get in touch with the team in Billings if you’re interested in volunteering for future events! For more information on the STEM Billings engineering event and other future activities, see these links: