USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Traveling for Science! The Mind Trekkers Share Their Journey to San Francisco!

 Guest Blog by Cody Kangas

After nearly twelve months of planning, twelve Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers and three staff flew West to the 2013 Bay Area Science Festival, held in AT&T Ball Park (San Francisco, CA). No crew had ever flown to an event, let alone traveled further West than Minneapolis, and thus began a new era for Mind Trekkers. This marked the second stop on the USA Science & Engineering Traveling Festival tour, powered by Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers. trekkers 1

On Friday, 11/1, our shipping crate filled with festival supplies and equipment arrived from Houghton, and everything made the journey unscathed (thanks UPS!). Some additional shopping for miscellaneous supplies went down at Target, along with retrieval of a 15-passenger van and cement mixer, and we were pleased to see our bulk order from Costco and over 200L of liquid nitrogen were successfully delivered.

One of the “special” highlights of the trip occurred later that night as we were finalizing the set up.  Dane Mattila, VP of the Mind Trekkers student organization, decided this journey would provide the perfect opportunity for him to propose to his wonderful girlfriend, Megan Johnson, another Mind Trekker. After some scheming by Kim D’Augustino (President, Mind Trekkers org) and Cody Kangas (Co-Founder & Advisor, Mind Trekkers), the crew returned to AT&T park and hid in the home team dugout. Mattila walked Johnson to the pitchers’ mound, dropped to one knee, and she said “yes!” The rest of the team joyfully sprinted out of the dugout and celebrated with the newly engaged at the mound for a solid 15 minutes, under the lights and stars, a mere 12 hours prior to event kick-off.

On Saturday morning, 11/2, everyone woke up bright and early to break bread at the team breakfast, and the crew arrived at the ballpark ready to roll shortly before 9:00am. From 11:00am-4:00pm, the USA Science & Engineering Festival/Mind Trekkers compound would rock out, engaging with an estimated 5,000 BASF attendees (over 30,000 were expected). The following demos and activities were presented at the USA Science & Engineering Festival/Mind Trekkers compound:

  • Foam Gnomes
  • Van der Graaf
  • Grape Crusher
  • LN2 Ice Cream
  • Dragon’s Breath
  • LN2 Smash
  • Oobleck
  • Skewer-through-a-balloon
  • Ferrofluid
  • Nail Puzzle
  • Vortex Cannon
  • Ping-Pong Cannon

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We are proud to say the USA Science & Engineering Festival/Mind Trekkers booth was a resounding success. Our presence was definitely felt, as the energy and environment of unfiltered learning spoke to the audience, which was comprised of a diversity of ages and STEM interest. Everyone left with a smile, and many returned over and over again throughout the duration of the event. Additionally, we were pleased to welcome national corporate partners of USA Science & Engineering Festival, including several key players from Chevron and their STEM outreach team.

View photos of the Mind Trekkers at the Bay Area Science Festival on our Facebook Page. It was quite an experience and we thank the USA Science & Engineering Festival for an amazing partnership!