University of Wisconsin-Stout student Evan Harding ran a small rake through plastic sand to create a streambed in a stream table model.

As water flowed through the streambed, particles of sand washed away, demonstrating surface water erosion to more than 400 middle school students attending Stout Connects You Thursday, Feb. 27.

Harding, of Cumberland, a senior majoring in environmental science, said he enjoys sharing science with the younger students. “This table does a very good representation of showing what happens when there is a flood, showing the results of erosion and showing how groundwater floors in comparison to surface water,” he said. “I love the interaction with the students. You don’t have to teach and preach. You can let them play with it and they can learn.”

The streambed model was one of several interactive displays for more than 400 students from eight schools to experience while at Stout Connects You. The middle school students also got to visit science labs related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and management.

St. Croix Central gifted and talented students visited the campus foundry in Fryklund Hall to see how aluminum casting is done from making molds to pouring the molten aluminum to cast the medallion.

Pavel Bizyukov, assistant professor of engineering and technology, demonstrated the creation of a UW-Stout medallion. He said he enjoys teaching students about the history of metal casting. “At the same time, it is a high demand field,” he noted.

Gifted and talented teacher Susie Sankey said having the 30 students from her school visit UW-Stout gives them the opportunity to see the campus and explore future career options. “They think it is cool and exciting to be at a college,” she noted.

Sidnie Roshell, an eighth grader at St. Croix Central, said she enjoyed the hands-on experiences on campus. One of her favorites was having the opportunity to fly a drone. “We ran it into a lot of walls,” she said.

Barret Eggen, a sixth grader at St. Croix Central, said he enjoyed learning about casting. “I didn’t know how aluminum was cast other than it being melted,” he noted.

Janet Bowerman, a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Whitehall Memorial School, brought 33 students from the district’s National Junior Honor Society to Stout Connects You.

“This gives students an opportunity to see a college campus,” Bowerman said. “They get to eat lunch with the college students and see the college students go from class to class. They are absolutely engaged.”

Callie Larson, an eighth grader from Whitehall, said she enjoyed learning about game design. “The students were interested in us,” she said. “They showed us how to play the games. They asked us questions. They were very friendly. I learned about designing a game. It’s showing us our future. We get a snippet of what it is like at college. It’s a good experience.”

Gindy Neidermyer, interim dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management, said Stout Connects You is designed to be community building, sharing with younger students the knowledge and expertise UW-Stout has in its faculty and students. “It allows us to show them the type of instruction and learning that occurs at UW-Stout,” she said. “Stout connects you and prepares you for the next phase in life.”

Schools participating in addition to St. Croix Central and Whitehall were Lake Middle School, Woodbury, Minnesota; NorthStar Community Charter School, Minong; Stanley-Boyd Middle School, Stanley; Fridley Middle School AVID, Minneapolis; New Richmond Middle School, New Richmond; and Oltman Middle School AVID, Cottage Grove, Minnesota

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