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STLCC's Mobile Tech Center Makes State Fair Debut

September 02, 2009

Visitors to the Missouri State Fair had a first-hand opportunity to explore the world of science, thanks in part to St. Louis Community College’s Mobile Tech Center (MTC). The portable laboratory travelled to Sedalia recently to participate in a three-day showcase of Science, Technology and Agriculture organized by Science and Citizens Organized for Purpose and Exploration (SCOPE).
 
Operated by STLCC’s Center for Plant and Life Sciences, the MTC serves to educate young people about science and interest them in science-related careers. It uses state-of-the art technology and equipment to provide visitors with an interactive learning experience that includes live and video presentations, hands-on experiments and on-site demonstrations. The MTC accommodates 10-15 people at a time.

The MTC is outfitted with a variety of interchangeable components, allowing the experience to vary from day to day. Depending on when they visited, fair participants might explore robotics, watch DNA fingerprinting in action, or learn how hydroponic plant systems work.

“So many people are reluctant to engage in science,” said Kasey Sindel, the education specialist who manages the program. “We try to present programs that are intriguing and will encourage them to ask questions. We hope to get them -- and keep them -- interested in science.”

“Wow, this is cool,” was a typical response by those who attended the fair.  Although the MTC has been operational for several years, this was its first trip to the fair, where it was received enthusiastically by hundreds of visitors during the three-day event. During the school year it travels locally to middle and high schools to provide students with a science-based experience not generally available in the classroom. As Sindel notes, “We are fortunate to have the MTC. It is one of a kind.”