Mind Trekkers: March to the St. Petersburg Science Festival

Institution: Michigan Technological University
Funders (3)
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Why This Project Is Important 

Research has found that students actively engage in areas of science and mathematics in their early and middle elementary school years. As they enter upper elementary and middle school courses in theses academic areas become 'hard' or 'boring.' This trend continues into high school as students continue to self select out of pursuing courses and careers in areas associated with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), areas they have been identified as vital to our economy's growth and our country's future.

Mind Trekkers was created to bridge this attraction gap, reigniting the curiosity in each student.

Project Description 

The Mind Trekkers team consists of volunteer undergraduate/graduate students, most of which are majoring in STEM related fields. They focus on developing activities that range from 30 seconds to 3 minutes in engagement, bringing the WOW! of STEM to the fingertips of youth. A short video outlining the creation of Mind Trekkers can be viewed on YouTube at: Mind Trekkers has conducted or been part of over 40 unique science and engineering festivals over the past 3 years ranging from the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C. (250,000+ participants) to the Iron Mountain (MI) Science and Engineering Festival (1,600+ participants). The high-energy, music-filled atmosphere engaging of the senses, inquisitiveness, and ignites the wonder in each student.

Results from our pre/post surveys conducted at the 4-day AT&T sponsored Mind Trekkers Science and Engineering Festivals in 2010 (Traverse City, Sault Ste. Marie, Escanaba, and Iron Mountain, MI) illustrated the impact on the students: 82.7% had in increased interest in pursuing a STEM degree. At the 2012 Sheboygan Science and Engineering Festival (WI) pre/post surveys found increases in the level of interest in science (+29%), technology (+14%), engineering (+30%), and mathematics (+11%).

Meet the Researchers

Cody Kangas

As Director of the Center for Pre-College Outreach at Michigan Tech, Cody leads a team of six to deliver three innovative university flagship operatives--Mind Trekkers, Summer Youth Programs, College Access Programs--as well as develop the Pre-College Innovative Outreach Institute. Prior to coming to Michigan Tech in 2008, Cody worked in several academic and athletic outreach programs, including Ann Arbor Public Schools and the United States Olympic Committee. While at Michigan Tech Cody has served on a number of task forces and steering committees, managed the delivery of innovative outreach programming for several hundred-thousand students and families through federal and private-funded sponsors, and created effective partnerships with stakeholders across K-12 schools, industry representatives, and non-profit organizations. Cody holds an MAED in Postsecondary Leadership from Michigan State University, and a BA in Sport Management from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is a proud father of two girls and spends his free time with his wife and family, traveling, and playing the guitar.

Steve Patchin

Steve received his Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati in 2007. He has also received a B.S. in Business Administration with a Minor in Finance, and a B.S. in Social Sciences with a Minor in Mathematics from Michigan Technological University. Steve is a former middle and high school teacher who spent 10 years in industry before entering the classroom. Before accepting the directorship, Steve had been working for Youth Programs during the summer for 6 years. His hobbies include coaching, boating, various outdoor sports, and most importantly, spending time with his wife, three children, and two dogs. Steve is currently purusing his doctorate through University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

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of $10,000 fund goal
The average donation for this project is $15
days left
Funding is Closed

What Your Donation Can Help Us Do: 

  • Obstacles to the execution of this project is funding. The Mind Trekkers student teams have created the activities that will be transported from Northern Michigan to Florida, the site of the event. The Mind Trekkers volunteers have been identified and the leadership team at the St. Petersburg Science Festival has graciously and enthusiastically provided us with a 'home' at their Festival.

$5 2 Funders

A BIG thank you! We'll send you frequent e-updates leading up to and after the journey.

$25 1 Funder

A stellar Mind Trekkers wrist band. Slide one of these unique silicone bracelets on--it's a great conversation piece!

$50 0 Funders

A Mind Trekkers wrist band AND 5 fun do-it-yourself Mind Trekkers activity lesson plans! Bring the Mind Trekkers experience into your home or classroom!

$100 0 Funders

A Mind Trekkers wrist band, 5 fun do-it-yourself Mind Trekkers activity lesson plans, AND 1 Mind Trekkers "I Got My GEEK On at Michigan Tech" T-shirt.

$250 0 Funders

5 Mind Trekkers wrist bands, 10 fun do-it-yourself Mind Trekkers activity lesson plans, 1 Mind Trekkers "I Got My GEEK On at Michigan Tech" T-shirt, AND a signed photo of the Mind Trekkers team from the St. Petersburg Science Festival.

$500 0 Funders

10 Mind Trekkers wrist bands, 10 fun do-it-yourself Mind Trekkers activity lesson plans, 3 Mind Trekkers "I Got My GEEK On at Michigan Tech" T-shirt, AND a signed photo of the Mind Trekkers team from the St. Petersburg Science Festival, matted and framed.

$1,000 0 Funders

10 Mind Trekkers wrist bands, 10 DIY Mind Trekkers activity lessons, 3 Mind Trekkers "GEEK On" T-shirts, AND a signed photo of the Mind Trekkers team from the festival, matted and framed, & recognition of your support in our annual report.

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Gifts to projects listed on SUPERIORIDEAS.ORG are received and processed by Michigan Tech Fund. Michigan Tech Fund is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code acting on behalf of Michigan Technological University. It is the policy of Michigan Tech Fund that a portion of the gifts and/or income therefrom may be used to defray the costs of raising and administering the funds.