Friday, July 19, 2024

RECIPE for STEM draws in middle schoolers with hands-on learning

by BPT Staff
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More than 1,400 middle school students from throughout central Louisiana participated in second annual RECIPE for Rural STEM Day Feb. 8 where they engaged in activities and demonstrations designed to spark interest in science, technology engineering and mathematics. The RECIPE (Relevant, Educational, Career Minded, Impactful, Purposeful and Engaging) event was presented by Northwestern State University’s Region 6 STEM Center at the Alexandria Mega Shelter in collaboration with 125 education and industry partners.

“From live alligators to robots, fire trucks to underwater robots, the range of activities and exhibits provided various STEM exposure to our students,” said Jennifer DePriest, director of NSU’s STEM Center. “Participants had the opportunity to engage with hands-on demonstrations, sparking their imagination and cultivating a deeper understanding of STEM concepts.”

Dr. Christopher Lyles, director of NSU’s School of STEM, said faculty from the Departments of Biology and Microbiology, Engineering Technology, Mathematics, Physical Science and Veterinary Technology, Computer Information Systems and the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health participated in the event with a variety of activities.

“The School of STEM was showcasing workshops in physics, chemistry, biomedical science, soil science, drones, robotics, mathematics and engineering technology,” Lyles said. “The experience was amazing – 1,400 middle students came through the School of STEM showcase and were exposed to almost every aspect of what our school has to offer. It was an incredible experience, and we are very grateful to STEM Region 6 for the opportunity to serve our community and region.”

“Northwestern is proud to host the Region 6 STEM Center established by the LASTEM Advisory Council. The goal of the Region 6 STEM Center is to build strong foundations for STEM literacy while providing opportunities for teachers and students to participate in programs they may not otherwise have access to,” said Laurie Morrow, NSU’s executive director for Economic Development, Innovation and Outreach.”

“Just like our favorite recipes, every student is different. RECIPE for Rural STEM is our way of introducing students to as many STEM careers as possible. We look forward to expanding these opportunities in the future,” DePriest said.

The NSU STEM Center connects Pre-K-12th grade students and educators with industry partners, community organizations, economic development agencies and higher education institutions to promote STEM in central Louisiana. The Center focuses STEM culture and literacy, experiential learning and preparing a STEM workforce for the future. The Center is located within the England Industrial Airpark in Alexandria.

Next year’s RECIPE for Rural STEM Day has been set for Feb. 20, 2024. NSU’s School of STEM will host STEM Day for high school students on Friday, March 1. Registration for that event is at

For more information on the NSU STEM Center, visit or call (318) 484-2184. For information on degree programs in NSU’s School of STEM, visit or contact Lyles at (318) 357-6514.

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