On November 5th, UCLA’s Exploring Your Universe (EYU) event returned to campus. The student-led and organized event, now in its 14th year, is the largest science fair in LA county and exposes the general public and K-12 Los Angeles students to science in new, and exciting and interactive ways. Graduate and undergraduate students representing all six of UCLA’s physical sciences departments, hosted a variety of fun activities.
Sophia Uemura, a chemistry PhD student and EYU president, was especially excited about the event’s success. “This year we hosted nearly ten thousand students, teachers, and families from across the region. I was especially proud of the fact that we were able to work closely with two Title 1 middle schools to bring more under-represented students to UCLA for hands-on experiences with science.”
In total, 65 booths and fifteen science talks were available for visitors to interact with: From making film canister rockets, to testing out bionics hands, engaging with a ping pong particle accelerator, and making their own earthquake. One of the most popular attractions, the UCLA Planetarium shows, sold out for the day in just three minutes. Most importantly, kids had a chance not only to see what role the physical sciences play in understanding our universe, but also allowed them to experience what it is like to work in these fields and make an impact on the world.
“Over the years, Exploring Your Universe has grown into one of our most important events of the year,” said Miguel Garcia-Garibay, dean of UCLA’s division of physical sciences. “Thanks to our dedicated student volunteers and a growing list of generous donors, I’m proud to say that we are having a growing and meaningful impact on the science and education of students in the Los Angeles area.”
“The science booths were interesting and engaging,” said Brian Learn, a teacher from Wilmington Middle School, an LAUSD Title 1 school. “The EYU student volunteers were wonderful hosts and answered all our questions! Our campus tour guide was enthusiastic and explained the college process at an appropriate level for middle school students.”
In addition to support for all six physical sciences departments, EYU received sponsorships from several other UCLA institutions, speaking to the expansion of interest across campus. These included the Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Samueli School of Engineering, the UCLA Graduate Student Association, the UCLA Galactic Center Group, the University Credit Union, and more.
As EYU continues to evolve, Uemura is looking forward to next year. “We have shown how important this event is for the university, physical sciences, and the entire city of Los Angeles. We hope that, with even more support, we can build EYU into a true and lasting cornerstone of UCLA’s dedication to outreach.”
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