STEM students recieve brief upgrade in Benthack

The Nebraska Power Public District offers a unique helping tool


Photos by Julia Baxter

Students in Benthack are getting a temporary upgrade to the modules in the building. These modules can help students get a better idea of what they can do and experience some real life technology used in careers in the STEM area of study. There are a variety of different gadgets in each module. The module will be here until Nov. 1, as they are rotated to different schools.

Morgan Cardenas, Staff Writer

The STEM program received an upgrade with the use of modules that are intended to expand the students’ learning. The modules are on campus until Nov. 1 in Benthack Hall.

Greg Vander Weil, the lead professor for the Skilled and Technical Science Education department, believed the STEM program made an impact on the students.

“This is a new venture with Nebraska Public Power District,” Vander Weil said. “They have 10 STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] modules that they rotate around to schools and they brought them here and our students are having the opportunity to work with the modules.”

According to Vander Weil, there are many different modules that help students explore areas that are related to their future careers. STEM centers on a theme: ‘Make it new, Make it do, Make it you, Make an impact.’

“[The stations] vary from CNC [computer numerical control], 3D printer, virtual reality, electronics, and robotics,” Vander Weil said. “So the students just have a new exposure to some of those areas.

Each module has something different for the students to learn from and to figure out how to apply them later on. Vander Weil believes that these gadgets will help the teacher education majors to see what is out there for them and help them gain more knowledge and skills. He looks forward to seeing what the students have learned.

The 21 students utilizing these tools enjoyed the STEM modules and the benefits they provided. Juniors Spencer Bode, Brad Thoendel and Gary Bibbey believed the models would come in handy when teaching future generations of students.

“[STEM] gets us to think outside the box and try to fix it if something goes wrong,” Bode said. “That’s what we’ll have to do later on in our jobs.”

“If we happened to have any of these modules in a school later on when we’re teaching, then maybe we could say, ‘I remember that, it was a little bit difficult for me to learn how to use it,’ so maybe this could be a problem-solving course for us to teach,” Thoendel said.

“I don’t know as much as I should know so this should be a great learning experience while I’m in my education classes and help me get a better insight for the future,” Gary Bibbey said.

The modules may be here for a limited time but they have allowed the STEM program to learn how to handle them and will prepare them for their future careers.