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SEM Link will be at The USA Science Festival in Washington DC

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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This weekend is the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. Are you going?  I wish I were.  I met the founder of this amazing event, Larry Bock in 2010, before the inaugural festival of that same year. We met as members of COPUS, the Coalition of the Public Understanding of Science — an AMAZING grassroots organization that networks people interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) in any and every which way possible. But I digress, but only a little.  Mr Bock’s enthusiasm and interests in STEM is a serious matter. Coming from the business-side of things he wanted to make a serious go of finding real ways to resolve this nations STEM slump – so he said, let’s throw a party.

From the start, I inquired about how the festival was working to diversify its audience, its presenters, its vendors and its reach.  And he was ready with answers and more importantly, he was eager to meet and include new people, organizations, and institutions that he may have overlooked (or just not known about) into the festival.  Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Link (SEM Link) is one of those organizations that he included.  I introduced Tokiwa T Smith, Founder and Executive Director of SEM Link to COPUS and she has continued to do awesome science outreach work all over this nation.

Ms. Smith and SEM Link will be one of the interactive exhibitors at the USA Science Festival this weekend in Washington, DC. Everyone in the DC-Maryland-Virginia should definitely go the festival and visit the SEM Booth (Booth #658)!  I wish I could be there, but in the meantime, I am asking everyone to support the festival and SEM Link in particular.

SEM Link will be doing a hands-on project using DOTS candies and toothpicks and they need our help.

Curious Kiddies making geodomes with DOTS candies and toothpicks with SEM Link

They need DOTS candies – LOTS of DOTS and round toothpicks, too. The USA Science & Engineering Festival draws big crowds, thousands of people, and SEM wants to be ready for all of the legions of excited science fans coming their way this weekend.  Here is how we can help.

1. Make a financial contribution.  Their website, has a paypal interface and we can make donations. Any amount is helpful.  Or you can contact them directly: to help them purchase supplies.

2. Purchase as many boxes of DOTS and at  boxes of  round toothpicks (300-1000 count) as you can for our activity, mail them to the local area contact to arrive by Friday, April 25, 2014.

Dr. Undra Graves-Guyton
Festival Coordinator at 9573 5th Place
Lorton, VA 22079.

Or if you are in the DMV area, you can make arrangements to hand the supplies directly to the Director Ms. Tokiwa T. Smith. You can email her to make arrangements -t okiwa.smith at semsuccess dot org or reach out via Twitter (@Tokiwana or @SEMLink). You can follow both, also.

    3. Also, if you live in the DMV area, you could volunteer at their booth (booth #658)  for a minimum of 2 hours on Friday between 9:30am and 2pm, Saturday between 9:30am-6:00 pm and Sunday between 9:30am and 4:00 pm.

    All help is appreciated. I can’t wait to read all of the amazing Twitter updates and see pictures from the festival, too.

      DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

      The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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