STEM Festival fast-approaching at Potomac State

The sixth annual Mineral County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Festival will be held at WVU Potomac State College (PSC) on Saturday, March 24 from noon until 4 p.m. on the Keyser campus.

This free event is open to students K-12, their families and to other members of the surrounding communities.  The STEM Festival will host an exciting variety of workshops that’s sure to entice the curiosity in everyone.  A brief summary of activities and demonstrations provided by West Virginia University Potomac State College, along with their locations are listed below. 

Lough Gymnasium:

Andrew Hoover from the WVU Research Corporation and WVU Professor Gerald Lang will demonstrate The Science Behind Cycling.  Most people can ride a bike, but do you actually know how you do it?  This event will host several hands-and feet-on STEM activities involving cycling, as well as a bike display, helmet design, gyroscope, and a pedal power bike.

Mary F. Shipper Library:

David Miller (multi media specialist) and Nick Gardner (library technician) will present Drone Obstacle Course! Stop by and Fly in the Library!  Participants get to see how many targets they can fly through in just two minutes, and view a display that features how Potomac State uses drones to create videos and 3D maps for agriculture.

Triangular Numbers, being presented by Mathematics Professor Richard Petersen will have participants constructing triangular numbers and investigating their properties. 

The Quad:

Engineering Professor Mohammad Saifi, along with several students, will have various Engineering Projects for participants to interact with including go-karts, robots, a catapult, and a potato launcher.  The projects were created in the Engineering Lab by current PSC students.

Exploring Equine Management will be presented by Equine Professor Jared Miller, along with several PSC students who are currently enrolled in the equine program at the College.  Students will share their experiences about how they’ve combined their love of horses and their studies with engaging activities like raising, breeding, and managing horses on the PSC Campus.

Newtonian Mechanic Demos will be presented by PSC students Kista Crites and Amberly Rohrbaugh.  Participants will learn about Newton's second law, that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.

Science Hall, Room 108 (S)

Forestry Professor Jeff Jones will present That came from where? as he displays common items that contain materials or compounds from trees. Some items are well-known, while others will be quite the surprise!

Science Hall, Room 109

TA Professor Kathryn Williamson, from the WVU Planetarium, Physics & Astronomy Department, along with a SPOT Ambassador from the WV Science Public Outreach Team, will present Astronomy Impact!  Participants will create their own meteor impacts and explore other concepts of astronomy by making asystem for their pocket, playing with Play-Doh and Earth/Moon beach balls to model their true size and distance. Participants also receive fun NASA giveaways!


Students Ethen Whitlock and Alyssa Taylor, of the PSC Engineering Club, will present Marble Sorter as they demonstrate how a Fishertechnics machine sorts marbles by color.


Science Hall, Room 204 (S)

CIS Instructor Mary Beth Moore will present Unlocking the Secrets of CryptographyCryptography refers to the process of making codes (ciphers) to obscure messages.  Participants will encode and decode messages with a series of ciphers used in past centuries.


Science Hall, Room 209 (WDS)

Biology Professors Erin Cunningham and Vicki Huffman will present Microbe Discovery which will allow participants to explore different types of bacteria by observing microscopic slides and bacteria cultures.  Participants will also see how effective their hand washing skills are by using lotion based simulated germs.


Science Hall, Room 211 (WDS)

Biology Professor Sheri Chisholm will have participants exploring the human body organ systems with Hands-On Anatomy .  Participants will be able to look at and handledissected organs and organisms that show human anatomy and physiology, and how they relate to our health.


Science Hall, Room 219 (WDS)

Biology Professor Gerald Wilcox will present a demonstration on Healthy Lungs and Simulated Smoker's LungsThis hands-on activity will demonstrate the difference between healthy pig lungs and simulated smoker's lungs, which represent the lungs of a person who smoked a pack of cigarettes per day for about 20 years.

For more information about the STEM Festival, contact Elementary Education Instructor Andrea Schafer at 304.788-7133 or; or 4-H/Family Extension Agent Margaret Miltenberger at 304-788-3621 or   

There are numerous other activities and demonstrations to participate in at the STEM Festival, so get the kids off the couch, off the phones and computers, and spend the afternoon learning about the world in which we live.