Claremont sees return of Science Day after three year hiatus

During Science Day, local students participated in hands-on scientific experiments and demonstrations. (Courtesy: 5C Science Bus)

On Feb. 26, 60 elementary school students packed Harvey Mudd College’s campus in eager anticipation of the annual Science Day. The event was hosted by 5C Science Bus, a volunteer organization that aims to teach local students about science through various community events.

Science Day is a long-held tradition at the Claremont Colleges, though this is the first time since 2019 that it has taken place in-person because of the pandemic.

“It was really exciting getting to bring the kids to campus again for the first time in three years,” Tanvi Krishnan HM ’24, co-vice president of Science Day, said.

Krishnan explained that the main purpose of Science Day is to get local students excited about science through hands-on experiments and demonstrations. This year, participants were randomly divided into four groups and led through two main experiments — an egg drop experiment and a marble roller coaster experiment.  

“These are really simple experiments, but working with children is really interesting because they’ll always surprise you with some new idea that you wouldn’t have thought of in a thousand years,” Jayati Priyanshu SC ’24, the other co-vice president of Science Day, said. 

There were also demonstrations by several Harvey Mudd faculty members, including chemistry professor Colm Healy, physics professor Nicholas Breznay and Physics Department lab manager BJ Haddad.

Both Priyanshu and Krishnan felt that Science Day was a rewarding experience for the 30 or so volunteers as well as for the elementary school participants.

“The part that gave me the most peace, that made me fulfilled and made my soul happy, was when I walked through the classrooms and helped kids with the actual experiments,” Priyanshu said.

Krishnan added that “the volunteers had a lot of fun getting to work with the students.”

Priyanshu agreed, also explaining that the event reminded volunteers why they were passionate about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“I think for volunteers, it’s just really fulfilling to work with students and to remind yourself, why do you like STEM?” Priyanshu said. “Where did your inspiration come from, in pushing towards the sciences?”

Aside from this emphasis on STEM exposure and education, Science Day provides participants with an opportunity to connect with students from other schools and build important life skills.

“Students themselves learn to work with others, and they learn that there is a lot of science that just involves creativity,” Priyanshu said.

Overall, Priyanshu and Krishnan felt that the event was a success.

“If you asked anyone how it was going, they were all unanimously having a great time,” Krishnan said.

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