Dr. Marilyn Lanier is an assistant professor in the Department of Elementary Education at Fayetteville State University. She is also the founder and organizer of the “Fall in Love with Math, Science & the Arts Expo.” She put on the inaugural event in 2016. It had 25 booths and saw 300 attendees. Fast forward to 2018 and there were 64 booths, and 800 people attended the expo. This year, Lanier hopes to see well over 1,000 people at the expo, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 16, at Fayetteville State University Capel Arena.
It’s a celebration of math, science and the arts. The entire event is designed specifically to have fun but also to spark a passion for discovery and learning.
“The country is moving into science and math, so STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, covers a little of all these areas,” Lanier said. “This expo is a place where students can delve into science and try hands-on things. Students get to experience a variety of areas where they can see and get a good idea of what STEM is.”
Lanier promised guests will find plenty to keep them engaged — including a trip to the FSU Aquarium. “We will shuttle them over to the science building, where they can take part in observing organisms and do hands-on activities,” she said. “Last year, they were able to touch lobsters. It was such an amazing experience. You could see on their faces that they were excited about that.”
Look for static displays, including fire trucks, patrol cars, and an ambulance where people can get inside the vehicles and see how they work and talk to the people who use them. There will be plenty of other kinds of technology, too.
“We will have robots,” Lanier said. “They can get finger-printed, see small animals and even do puttputt. Science is everywhere and that is what we want to show people. For example, putt-putt involves physics.”
Though she leads the charge, Lanier said she is thankful for the support from the community. “When I started this, I wanted to connect with the community, and, because I’m a science person, I wanted to make hands-on experiences available to children. Being an educator, I know there is limited time in school where kids get a chance to do science hands-on.”
She is not alone in her enthusiasm for sharing the joy of learning. She partners with the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center and the Cumberland County Schools system as well as other institutions, including Methodist University.
The expo is free to attend. “We try to make things very accessible,” Lanier said. “We want to get the message of STEM out there. We will have a lot of giveaways, and each booth will have something children can walk away with. Children are given a little bag to collect the goodies from the vendors —and they will get a lot of goodies,” she added.
The expo is sponsored by Fayetteville State University Department of Education/College of Education. It will take place at Capel Arena, which is located at 1200 Murchison Rd. It starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Dr. Marilyn Lanier at 910-672-1631 or email@example.com.