TAME for TJ: School receives science exhibits on wheels

Published 6:19 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas



Young people got the opportunity to learn about technology and the sciences from a crew of excited specialists and volunteers who traveled to their school and brought their lessons with them.

The Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering or TAME visited the Thomas Jefferson Middle School campus Wednesday morning in Port Arthur with their signature TAME Trailblazers trailer.

The visit was part of a multi-campus initiative by TAME for the elementary and middle schools of Port Arthur Independent School District.

“We want to present students with some of the science and technology in the field. We want to make them aware of careers in the various fields,” Sam McWhorter, trailblazer facilitator, said.

Middle-school students were exposed to an array of science-themed exhibits aboard the bus that showcased new or emerging technologies alongside novel demonstrations of science staples.

One exhibit displayed a robotic arm that could be controlled by remote while another featured tools used in modern medicine. There were a handful of exhibits inside the trailer, each manned by a specialist in the field.

At each campus TAME visited, the bus was filled with volunteers from a different event sponsor. Wednesday’s volunteers were from BASF.

“It’s exciting. We have some of the same science and technology courses they’re bringing here,” Taunjaerina Drake, instructional coach for Thomas Jefferson, said. “But for a student to go on the trailer and experience it on another level…”

Drake said it allows students to get a better idea of the possible fields they could be interested in when they go to college. By experiencing it in an interactive fashion, Drake believed it would allow them to make better-informed choices when deciding on careers.

“Somewhere out there is a kid around their age who, in the future, could double the efficiency of solar panels,” McWhorter said. “There’s no reason that kid couldn’t be a student who comes from Texas.”

TAME’s mission is to enable Texas students to pursue careers in STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. It does this in a number of ways including forming partnerships in the community, promoting diversity in STEM careers and implementing afterschool programs.

The Trailblazer initiative covers more than 20,000 miles around Texas and engages with more than 20,000 students each year.