STEM Festival to Feature Laser Demonstrations

Lasers at STEM Festival
Orbital ATK employee Brent Felton describes the importance of laser safety, the effect laser beams can have on eyes and skin, and safety precautions everyone can take to avoid injury.  

The 5th Annual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Festival for area students and parents will be hosted by the Mineral County STEM Network. The event will be on Saturday, March 25 from 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM at Potomac State College of WVU.

Orbital ATK will be presenting a popular laser demonstration using safe, low power laser devices. Students learn how lasers work and real-life applications of lasers. Participants manipulate laser beams and gain knowledge in the use of optics.

The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  Laser devices generate concentrated beams of electromagnetic radiation, emitted as a beam of light that is usually invisible.  Lasers are different than normal light because a laser emits a coherent beam which means that all light rays are parallel.  This allows a laser beam to remain narrow while it travels long distances. Lasers are usually one wavelength or color and many of us think about those red laser pointers commonly available.

Today lasers impact almost every aspect of our lives: measurement and analysis, defense and national security, medicine and health, and environment and climate. Lasers have transformed the energy, communications and manufacturing industries.

Orbital ATK has been an active part of the STEM Festival planning process each year.  According to Craig Kesner, Orbital ATK engineering manager, “Orbital ATK is proud to be a participant in STEM events, particularly in our local communities.  It is important for students to understand the opportunities available in STEM fields so they can plan their educational goals as early as possible. “

This area STEM Festival is modeled after the USA Science and Engineering Festival and Expo held in Washington, D.C.  It is an exciting venue to experience the numerous hands-on activities!

The mission of the festival is to re-invigorate the interest of our youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities and careers by producing and presenting compelling, exciting, educational and entertaining science gatherings.

The planning committee co-chairpersons are Andrea Schafer, Potomac State College of WVU, Craig Kesner, Orbital ATK and Scott Staley, Mineral County Schools. If you have questions about the festival contact Andrea Schafer agschafer@mail.wvu.edu at 304-788-7133 or Margaret Miltenberger at m.miltenberger@mail.wvu.edu.

For more information on the Mineral County STEM Network visit http://mineralstem.com/ and for regular updates on the STEM Festival like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MineralCountySTEM.