COC hosts Green STEM Summit for Santa Clarita High School Students

Candace Rojas, waste water treatment operator for Los Angeles County Sanitation, speaks with an attendee at the 2018 Green STEM Summit, November 20, 2018. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal
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More than 100 Santa Clarita and local area high school students attended the 2018 Green STEM Summit at College of the Canyons Saturday, when each attendee was given an opportunity to learn about various environmental careers.

“This is our fourth year providing the Green STEM Summit, and every year we’ve focused on providing these students with environmental education,” said Jerry Buckley, assistant superintendent and vice president of instruction at College of the Canyons.

Sponsored by SCV Water and organized by the Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium, the half-day event allowed both prospective STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and COC students to view exhibits from various private companies and college campus clubs that are focused in green scientific careers.

“It’s an entirely different format this year,” said Buckley. “It’s not about lecturing the students but giving them an opportunity to walk around and see exhibits from a company like Lockheed Martin on biomimicry to hearing from people who work at an actual Parks Service, and everything in between.”

One table students visited was the COC Astronomy and Physics Club, where current club members spoke with students about their NASA-sponsored High Altitude Student Platform program.

“This is an opportunity to connect students with industries that maybe they didn’t even realize had a part in impacting the environment,” said Teresa Ciardi, the COC Astronomy and Physics Club advisor. “Next year, we’re hoping that we can send a spectrometer up so that we can see exactly what acids we’re neutralizing.”

Students also had the opportunity to speak with government organizations and learn about the various opportunities afforded in public service.

“I’m just here with my fellow engineer to talk and came out here to educate the kids, and talk about wastewater opportunities,” said Candace Rojas, a wastewater treatment operator with the Los Angeles County Sanitation District.

The 2018 Green STEM Summit this year was free for all students and each attendee was also given a free lunch that they could eat while sitting around with other like-minded students and adults already working in their dream fields.

“I thought it was really interesting to learn about all the careers and possibilities there are to learn (about the) environment,” said Katie Lou, 15, a student who attended the 2018 Green STEM Summit for the first time this year.

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