Mind Trekkers brings STEM to all in fun, high-energy ways

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Mind Trekkers

A Mind Trekkers member is seen here with the demonstration Musical Fruit, where students use a circuit board, wires, bananas and other items to create their own fruit piano!

Madison Degnitz, Pulse Editor

You’ve seen their liquid nitrogen explosions at K-Day, heard the roar of the Whoosh Bottle at many of their events and observed the wonder of non-Newtonian fluids at their Oobleck displays. Which Michigan Tech organization is this? If you guessed Mind Trekkers, you’re correct! 

Mind Trekkers is a flagship program of Michigan Technological University’s Center for Educational Outreach. Michigan Tech students volunteer their time as Mind Trekkers guides who travel the country with the group to showcase a traveling STEM show with high energy demonstrations and crazy smart dedication to the K-12 students they’re serving. The group’s main goal, according to Vice President of Membership Maria Huber, is to inspire these kids to one day pursue careers in STEM, just as most Trekkers themselves have. 

“We primarily seek to achieve this goal with the implementation of a road show composed of short, 5 minute or less, engaging hands-on science experiments,” Huber says. These demonstrations are short enough to captivate the attention spans of the K-12 students, but also impactful enough for them to learn and have fun. In addition to their traveling road shows, they also typically host events in the local community and on-campus. Finally, some Trekkers also take the things they’ve learned through Mind Trekkers to inspire kids in their communities back home. Their largest local event is the Copper Country Science and Engineering Festival, which is targeted at local students in the Keweenaw.

Like most student organizations, Mind Trekkers has faced many challenges associated with COVID-19. As safety regulations prohibit large gatherings and many students aren’t having in-person classes, many of their roadshow events have had to be cancelled and postponed. To keep MTU students involved, the group has made many plans to keep on Trekking. “We are launching a video series through social media to bring science demonstrations right to the homes of students,” Huber says. “We are also planning on hosting interactive virtual events for students in the classroom.”

Mind Trekkers also offers incredible opportunities for the Tech students involved. It offers them real-world connections with representatives from the group’s impressive list of sponsors and gives them hand-on experience with K-12 students, if they’re looking for a future career in education.

The impression left on each student that comes to the Mind Trekkers events is immeasurable. For many students, Mind Trekkers may be their first or only introduction to real STEM experiments. With smaller schools not having the access or funds to provide such experiences in the classroom, Mind Trekkers offers a great alternative. As Mind Trekkers is made up of students from all types of backgrounds, K-12 students can see themselves in these older peers, and it helps them to realize that they too can become a scientist, engineer, mathematician, or whatever they put their minds to! 

 If you’re a Michigan Tech student who is interested in volunteering with Mind Trekkers, feel free to contact Maria Huber at [email protected] or join the group on Involvement Link. Here’s a full list of their demonstrations, which you can recreate at home, and for more information on their road shows, click here. For any additional questions, visit their website or contact group President Drew Hull at [email protected].