By Dylan Carlson Sirvent, ’19
On May 4, COSI will be hosting their first ever Science Festival. Upper Arlington will be at the event, and representing them will be junior Audrey Strickling who was identified as the STEM Star for the community. Each year, COSI asks communities to identify an individual in the community who has done significant work to promote STEM education.
Strickling was identified as Upper Arlington’s STEM Star for her work with the “First Robotics” team at UAHS. Unlike other robotics teams, the FIRST Robotics team focuses on student autonomy, according to Strickling.
“It really is a student-run club with a group of student leaders,” Strickling said. “And our students raise the entire budget that we use throughout the season, which is an incredible feat.”
Another aspect for which Strickling was identified as Upper Arlington’s STEM Star is for her efforts to bridge the gaps in the female to male ratios in STEM clubs and opportunities. She said she is especially proud of the fact that the FIRST Robotics club has the highest female to male ratio in a STEM club at UAHS. She also said she would like to create more STEM opportunities in the elementary and middle schools.
“In my ideal, kids would naturally be exposed to many different STEM opportunities and have the easy path of following these into further high school classes,” Strickling said.
Strickling will also serve as the grand marshal of the Science Festival. She will be having some responsibilities on their big stage of the festival and the FIRST Robotics team will have a tent at the festival. The club will be bringing their competition robot for people to drive around, as well as a Sphero and some Virtual Reality goggles.
Strickling is also one of the youngest recipients of the STEM Star, as past recipients have typically been adults.
At the event, there will be around 100-200 tents from different communities and organizations where people can stop and do STEM-related activities. And COSI also awarded a COSI On Wheels experience to Wickliffe Elementary school.
Strickling will also be helping with two STEM events at UAPL, one for kids and one for adults. According to community engagement specialist at UAPL Jennifer Faure, the event for kids will consists of making DIY LED flashlights and the adult event will consist of making seedless for gardens.
On April 9, there will be a school board meeting in which Upper Arlington’s mayor will deliver a proclamation for Strickling as the STEM Star. The ceremony will last approximately 15 minutes.