Fresno State professors bring student interest back to STEM classes

Fresno state professors say science does not have to be boring. The university is working to reform education in the high demand field.
December 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno State professors say science does not have to be boring. The university is working to reform education in the high demand field. The number of students pursuing jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is plummeting and the need for those workers is soaring.

In a recent survey nearly 90 percent of high school graduates said they are not interested in the fields known as STEM because classes are dull, curriculums are outdated and teachers are ill-prepared. But professors at Fresno State are working to change that.

Fresno State physics professor Don Williams is using entertaining demonstrations to get students of all ages excited about science.

"I don't want just students; I want the whole entire community to learn how beautiful physics is. It's like the all-encompassing science and we know we've been on the wrong track in the U.S. in science and math, my gosh," Williams said.

Williams believes schools all over the nation are doing a poor job of educating kids about exciting STEM fields. Williams started an outreach program and service learning course at Fresno State.

William's program trains teachers on how to engage their students. He visits campuses like the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) in Clovis and leads kids through a series of interactive activities.

"They see it as a fun day for them, but what they don't realize is we're teaching them a ton of physics very quickly or I learned something today we gotcha," said physics ,engineering and robotics instructor Brian Emerson.

Williams is hoping to spread the word about the exciting new course at Fresno State. The next one begins after the winter break on January 16 and is open to all majors. He is also encouraging Valley and foothill schools to sign up for a free Friday demonstration by contacting the physics outreach program at Fresno State.


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