Physics Demos at Challenger Elementary School [05/25/2023]

STEM Pals attended Challenger Elementary School’s STEM Night (Mukilteo School District). We brought along a set of demonstrations lent to us by the UW Physics Department, including the Van de Graaff generator, which was without a doubt the hit of the night. Though the expectation was 300-400 attendees, there were easily over 500 students and family members in attendance!

Thank you so much to Challenger Elementary for hosting this event – STEM Pals had a blast! :blush:


Soldering with Communities of Rooted Brilliance [05/18/2023]

STEM Pals partnered with the non-profit organization, Communities of Rooted Brilliance, to work with approximately 15 refugee students at Kent-Meridian High School. We conducted a soldering workshop during their after school program, where students got the chance to learn about circuits, create their own, and use soldering to complete this circuit and make a flashlight!

A Monumental Leadership Transition at STEM Pals: Celebrating Our Success and Looking Forward

Letter to membership from Tharindu Fernando, founder and outgoing co-president

Dear STEM Pals Family,

I hope this message finds you well, excited, and ready for the bright future that lies ahead. It seems like just yesterday when the concept of STEM Pals was a fledgling idea in my mind. Back in 2019, when I first conceived of a community dedicated to high school STEM outreach, I never imagined just how successful it would become. Like a rugged, untouched mountain, the concept was waiting to be transformed into something grand and magnificent.

Our co-president Sam Tetef and I picked up our metaphorical chisels and set to work, but we were not sculptors alone. Each of you and our sponsors played a pivotal role in shaping this monument. Your dedication, your passion, your tireless efforts have been instrumental in carving the grand structure that is STEM Pals today. It is through our collective hard work that we have been able to host over 20 events, reaching over 1000 community members.

As we stand at this major milestone in our journey, our scene is reminiscent of Mount Rushmore.

Sam and I, in our roles as the original sculptors, have chiseled three new faces into our growing monument. These are the faces of Al Snow, Ariana Frey, and Nicole Gregorio, the incoming co-presidents. Their commitment, dedication, and contributions to STEM Pals have earned them their rightful places on our mountain. We trust in their ability to lead STEM Pals to even greater heights and successes.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Al, Ariana, and Nicole as they step into their new roles. They are not only the leaders of our organization but also the representation of our bright future.

Although Sam and I are stepping back from the scaffolding, we will not be leaving the base of the mountain. We remain fully committed to supporting STEM Pals and will be there to offer guidance as we move forward. This isn’t a farewell, but a shift in our roles, allowing us to continue to contribute from a different vantage point.

Our deepest gratitude goes out to all of you. Without your hard work, dedication, and belief in our mission, STEM Pals would not be the success it is today.

As we look to the future, let’s continue to inspire, shape, and guide the next generation of STEM enthusiasts.

Here’s to new beginnings, to the continued success of STEM Pals, and to a future filled with even more remarkable achievements!

Sincerely Yours,
Tharindu Fernando

Volunteered at 3 CEI events [04/25/2023 – 05/02/2023]

We participated in 3 of the Clean Energy Institute’s events:

  • 04/25 Community Feedback Session for Products of Lasting Value: A STEM Pal helped current CEI Fellows by giving them feedback on their outreach projects.
  • 04/26 Science Fair & Booth at Edmonds Heights K-12 School: Helped facilitate a CEI booth and provided feedback to students on their science fair projects. Here’s a testimony from our STEM Pal volunteer:
    • We were able to meet with diverse audience of kids from elementary all the way to high school who had demonstrated significant scientific interests and utilized what they had learned in the classroom to answering interesting questions in their surroundings. Projects varied from studying family tree genetic trait transferring to medieval engineering of arrow catapults. With the Clean Energy Institute we demonstrated a great use case of solar powered cars, and circuit design. To my surprise, even kids in 1st and 2nd grade had great awareness of solar energy concepts such as what are solar panels and why cars with lesser mass tends to travel faster. To mind this is a win for science, because we have a great younger generation much more educated and looking forward to making the world better.” – Maleen Kidiwela
  • 05/02 Skills Workshop: 20-30 9th and 10th graders from a Kent school partner visited the UW Campus. Two STEM Pals introduced students to an activity related to their daily activities. They worked with students on how to read a research paper by guiding them through steps on understanding an abstract, reading graphs, interpreting data, and how to communicate.