Inspiring Eastern Kentucky kids to join next generation of scientists and engineers

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Hosting possibly America's next great scientists and engineers.

Wednesday, the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, welcomed eight Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT students who spent the day sharing their love of STEM or science, technology, engineering and math with kids in Eastern Kentucky.

"It's something that many kids do get super interested in once they experience it, especially in a really hands-on manner," said Kate Pearce, MIT student.

"It's really inspiring to see these kids who are like so genuinely passionate and curious about what's going on in the world around them, I really enjoyed it," Delia Stephens, MIT student said.

The MIT students are cycling across the country sharing their love of STEM with kids in rural areas. During the classes at the Challenger Learning Center, the students taught local children about the science of photography, computer science, robotics and more.

"We hope that they just get really inspired by the activities that they do today to continue to keep STEM in their activities, in their free time as well as in their thoughts for the future in education," said Pearce.

The students also helped dispell some misconceptions too.

"Scientists and engineers can be athletic, active and engaged with their communities, a lot of times we tend to forget that scientists and engineers are people too," Stephens said.

Since six out of the eight MIT students teaching the STEM classes were women, they said they hoped they inspired some of the girls in the classes to work in a STEM career when they grow-up.

"Keep doing it, you might not see a whole lot of other women, young women in wherever it is you end up, but that doesn't mean that you don't belong," said Stephens.

The students say it is important for them to reach out to kids in rural areas as they may not see adults working in STEM fields around them, and may not know it is a possibility for themselves when they are older.

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