Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Holds Successful Stem Open House for 500+


“Research has shown that opinions toward STEM subjects are formed early. Our purpose is two-fold: to recruit students to the college and also to provide a public service, to make STEM enjoyable and approachable.”

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was proud to host its second annual STEM Open House at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) earlier this month.

“The STEM Open House was a true celebration of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “One of my goals since coming to Rowan-Cabarrus is to increase the breadth and depth of our STEM education. I fully believe that everyone should be interested in STEM – and that it’s critical that we embrace these subjects. America used to be the leader in technology and innovation. It’s time for us to reclaim that role.”

Over 500 members of the community visited the STEM Open House. The STEM Open House was a fun, interactive event for the community showcasing the college’s science, technology, engineering and math programs.

The college hosted dozens of interactive exhibits for kids and adults of all ages to dazzle the senses and stir curiosity for all things STEM. Attendees were able to perform DNA extraction in the college’s science labs, operate robots, and even engage in activities that created fun products by applying scientific and engineering principles in collaboration with technology and mathematics.

“We hope to reach as many as we can with our message, and that is to make science friendly, approachable and fun,” said Dr. Marcy Corjay, dean of the college’s science, biotechnology, mathematics and information technologies.

The exhibits were extremely diverse – visitors instantly created ice cream using liquid nitrogen, made bouncy balls, tested their skin for sun damage and helped a robot disarm a simulated bomb. Visitors learned about DNA extraction, motorsports technology, the complexity of balancing pH in dying hair and the science of firefighting. Several microscopes gave participants a peek at specimens like the wing of a fly and kids could also develop their own movies.

The college’s nursing programs host an annual health fair that was incorporated into the STEM Open House. Faculty utilized displays to educate the community about Alzheimer’s disease and nutrition while others participated interactively in activities, including Zumba classes.

“Holding this event at our building on the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) made a lot of sense. Our NCRC building is the home of our biotechnology and nursing programs – two of our most STEM intensive curricula,” said Spalding. “ If you haven’t had a chance to visit the facility before, I encourage you to do so!”

The target audience for this open house was broader than traditional open houses hosted by the college. In addition to recruiting traditional-aged prospective students, the college aspired to host younger children (elementary and middle school aged) with their parents. Local K-12 public schools brought in buses of students; homeschool students and families were also in attendance.

The STEM Open House was held in conjunction with the statewide NC Science Festival focused on engaging the younger generation in science. Events across the state were designed to bring science to life for students and their parents. Locally, the college coordinated with other universities, schools and groups in Kannapolis to design events that appealed to the whole community (http://www.cityofkannapolis.com/celebratescience).

For more information about next year’s event or to bring students from your school, please contact Dr. Marcy Corjay (704-216-7217, marcy.corjay@rccc.edu). For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu.

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