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Service learning projects allowed SBU students to apply STEM skills and give back to the community 

By Maya Brown 

WISE Students Helping at Veterens HomeOn Thursday, Nov. 21, the WSE 381 course at Stony Brook University gave three presentations that were focused on service learning projects. The class of 33 students spent the past fall semester working together in small groups to create a product or activity that also involved a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) component. The groups also worked with non-profit organizations on their various projects.

According to the Stony Brook University Bulletin , in the course “Service-Learning in STEM,” students will “apply social science knowledge and methodologies to learn how to integrate meaningful community service within the context of STEM to enrich the learning experience, engage in civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” 

In their service learning projects, students applied STEM-related skills including design optimization, systems and subsystem interconnectedness, constraints, trade-offs and side effects, and ethical considerations. 

Students enrolled in the class are also a part of the women in science and engineering program (WISE). The WISE program seeks to increase the number of women in science, math and engineering fields through outreach, recruitment and retention efforts.

During the first set of presentations, employers and agencies involved were also  present.  The Career Center has developed strong relationships with non-profit organizations and agencies for many years. The Career Center connects students with these organizations through experiential learning opportunities including service learning, internships, volunteer work and more. 

The first group worked with iCreate , an innovation and creation lab at Stony Brook University, in their project of “WISE & 3Diatrics.” Team members 3D-printed toys and created goodie bags for children in the Stony Brook Hospital. Caleb Sooknanan, the 3Diatrics Coordinator, attended the presentation. 

The second group worked with the LI Veterans Home in their project of “Virtual Reality with LI State Veterans Home,” in which the team members taught veterans all about virtual reality and usage of technology on a daily basis. Samantha Myers, Volunteer Coordinator and Michelle Cheslak, Director of Recreation, of the LI Veterans Home were in attendance. 

The third group worked with Island Harvest , a food bank on Long Island, in their project of “Summer Food Service Program and Data Solutions,” in which team members helped the organization analyze and calculate data to measure the efficiency of food supply to children in the summer. Team members shared that the project increased their desire for involvement, as well as learning further through service.