Golden Apple: Leech Lake Tribal College Invites Community To Venture “Across The Universe”
Rockets, raptors and robots, oh my! This year’s Across The Universe event, held at the Leech Lake Tribal College, had more activities than you could count.
“We’re reaching out to the community to really emphasize how important and prevalent the STEM field is, and so people don’t need to be scared or intimidated of going into these fields. There’s a lot of fun you can have and it’s a good opportunity to bring the community in. Let the kids come in and have fun,” says Raymond Burns, the president of LLTC.
“Across The Universe” is a collaborative effort. LLTC professors taught courses, and there were also seminars taught by Bemidji State University students, University Of Minnesota staff, the Headwaters Science Center and the Cass Lake Robotics club.
“The whole point of this ‘Across The Universe’ party is to showcase what the tribal college can do. We’re trying to pull in different people from different genres. You know, Bemidji, Cass Lake,” says Anita Cloud, the EAS coordinator for LLTC.
There were 9 activities total, including a star lab, virtual reality room, rocket science, and coding games. All of them revolved around the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields.
When asked about why he was looking forward to the activities, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 6th grader Isaiah said, “Because I like math and technology and I just want to chase the – when the rocket goes, I want to chase the guy that’s in the parachute.”
“I’m looking forward to the virtual reality down by the library,” says another Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 6th grader, Gozi.
“I wanna do the engineering,” adds Cass-Lake Bena 2nd Grader Jazlynn.
Overall, the event hopes to create some interests in future STEM careers.
Melinda Neville, the STEM department chair at LLTC, says, “I want everybody to have a good time and to think about science being fun, being accessible and maybe consider a career as a scientist. I mean, whether it’s biology, chemistry, forestry, earth system science, there’s a lot of opportunity in our area for Native scientists.”
No matter what they take from “Across The Universe” in the long run, the fact remains that they’ll for sure leave with some pretty cool science and engineering skills.
“I can learn how to make rockets, lava lamps and more stuff,” says Waasebiik, a 4th grader from Schoolcraft.