BY Alex Xu
Recently, at a bustling elementary school in Santa Ana, California, volunteers wearing gray shirts with ‘Got Science?’ emblazoned on the back worked tirelessly to prepare a series of classrooms. They were using them as a venue for a series of workshops, aimed at spreading love for the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields around Orange County. The workshops included events such as Make Your Own Slime, Paper Airplanes, and Ocean Acidification. Students rotated between stations, participating in up to two and a half hour long activities. They were taught the scientific method in addition to interesting facts about chemistry and physics; and were then given the opportunity to put it into practice through hands-on activities, such as a paper plane throwing contest.
This is just one example of one of OC Science’s work. In recent weeks, OC Science has held STEM nights at C E Utt, Columbus Tustin, Portola, and A G Currie Middle Schools. At these events, they brought STEM knowledge and awareness to underprivileged communities in Santa Ana and Orange. They hosted a variety of activities aimed at inspiring children to participate in STEM, ranging from biology to engineering. Alongside these events, members of OC Science also held a large Science Night in collaboration with OCSEF at Santiago K-8 School in Santa Ana.
So, what exactly is OC Science?
OC Science is a youth-led volunteer organization that does volunteer work throughout Orange County. In addition to hosting the Science Fair and Imaginology, OC Science hosts hands-on activities and workshops throughout Orange County. In recent weeks, they have collaborated with Think Together to bring STEM education to children in less privileged communities.
“We try to bring STEM to all of Orange County, especially to areas where it is not easily available.” said Atharva Apte (VP of Communications), a junior at Woodbridge High School.
OC Science was founded in 2014 as part of an initiative to host an annual OC Science and Engineering Week. Since then, they have grown into a massive student organization with over a hundred volunteers, that hosts events all throughout Orange County. Many of their volunteers come from their school chapters; currently, OC Science has ten high school chapters throughout Orange County, including at Woodbridge High, Irvine High, Beckman High, and Troy. They do not, however, have a chapter at Uni, despite a large majority of their volunteers being from Uni; the club was denied by the club approval committee because their mission statement is too similar to Scientastic’s, a preexisting UHS club.
However, many members of OC Science see little similarity between them and other organizations.
“OC Science differs from other organizations both through the universality of its mission and its diverse array of initiatives. Science is such a universal pursuit and innovation and problem solving are necessary in every field of study. What sets OC Science apart is the variety of constituents it serves throughout Orange County,” said VP of Marketing Neah Lekan (Jr.)
This is evidenced by the work the organization does, now encompassing events from Science Nights to Discovery Workshops. Since 2014, the organization has recruited over 300 volunteers and accrued a total of over 5000 volunteer hours, and has hosted events such as the OC Science and Engineering Fair and Imagonology.