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Written by: Krystal Davis
Tuesday March 1, 2016

I recently had the opportunity to participate in community outreach programs for the Museum.  I visited Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Subway stores in Martinsville and set up a display table with several fossils and information about the Museum and STEM education.  I sincerely appreciate these businesses allowing me to interact with their customers and members of our community.

Krystal Davis stands before a display table at Wal-Mart.My first stop of the day was at Wal-Mart.

During my community outreach programs, my goal was to interact with as many people as possible.  I wanted our community members to realize just how much the Museum has to offer, how inexpensive it is for families to visit, and to discuss how important STEM education is for future generations of children.  I successfully interacted with about 300 individuals.

Display table at Wal-Mart.Display table set up at Wal-Mart with fossils and information about STEM education.

At this point, you might be wondering why I would stand for several hours outside of retail stores just to speak with individuals for a few minutes.  For me, the answer is clear.  Our economy has been hit hard over the last several years.  For generations, people knew that they could depend on the textile businesses to support their families, but as we have unfortunately experienced, our community has seen some of the highest unemployment numbers in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It is my belief that in order for our children to be successful in coming years, we must provide them with a focus on STEM education.

Display table at Kroger.Display table set up at Kroger.

What is STEM?  The simplest definition is what it stands for, which is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  The ultimate goal of STEM education is to encourage students to take an interest in STEM subjects at an early age. This should be beneficial to them when they enter the jobs market, and in turn it should benefit the greater economy. Did you know that VMNH provides STEM education programs?  Or that the Museum’s existing exhibits and ongoing research and collections programs could provide a spark to a child for a future dream job?

Display table at Subway.Display table set up at Subway.

According to the U. S. Department of Education (http://www/ed/gov/stem), “The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.”

Flyer handed out during community outreach programs.This flyer was distributed to over 300 individuals.

It is my sincere desire that through community participation, educational resources, involvement and encouragement of parents, and programs offered at VMNH, we will see a future generation of successful children who will not only invest in themselves, but will invest in the future economy of Martinsville and Henry County.

Tags: Krystal Davis, Outreach, Research and Collections