BVU Takes Science to the Middle School

Several S-STEM scholarship students built bridges, catapults, and mini ecosystems with Storm Lake Middle School students. The group is pioneering a new, large-scale scholarship program at Buena Vista University.

Throughout the fall semester, several Buena Vista University students visited the Storm Lake Middle School to conduct science experiments and projects with youth after school as part of the Tornado Learning Club. 

One of the sessions involved the BVU science students working alongside teams of 5th-8th graders to build bridges made of one sheet of printer paper. The teams tested their paper bridges, constructed without any sort of adhesive, by weighing them down one unit at a time. The winning team’s bridge held 800 grams before crashing to the ground at 900 grams. The teams also created penny catapults with tongue depressors and marine ecosystems in a bottle with live fish to take home. 

Cody Buresh, a computer science major at BVU says, “I really enjoy working with kids in science. I had a lot of fun volunteering with sports in high school as an athlete, and I hope to continue to be a positive role model for youth as I work to meet my academic goals at BVU.” 

Buresh is one of fifteen total S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) C.A.R.E.E.R.S. scholars who hit the ground running upon their August arrival on campus as freshmen. The group is pioneering a new, large-scale scholarship program at Buena Vista University. The program was developed by a team of BVU faculty and staff as a way to provide students access to targeted programs and services in an effort to enhance their success and retention in STEM fields. 

BVU’s S-STEM scholarships were granted after the School of Science was awarded a nearly $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2017 to support students who are entering a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field of study. Thanks to the grant funding, BVU selected 15-18 students to receive grant funding of $5,000 max per year for up to four years and $2,000 for a science sampler interim trip. Another cohort will be selected for the upcoming academic year.