Links to Monthly Content

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, STEMLink was a one-day career and higher education-immersion field trip for students in grades 5-6. STEMLink took place at three colleges in the Twin Cities metro area: Dunwoody College of Technology, Normandale Community College, and Century College. STEM careers came to life as students participated in three interactive sessions in college labs with professionals in the STEM fields.

This year (2020-2021), STEMLink is going online! From October to December, Virtual STEMLink featured unique content each month, including:

  • Two Recorded sessions with STEM professionals that feature a hands-on activity and an introduction to various STEM fields;
  • “A Day in the Life” career blog updated weekly featuring STEM professionals sharing what they love about their work, demonstrating tools of their trade, and providing a glimpse of their workplace; and
  • Live Q&A with a STEM professional (twice a month).

A three-month subscription to Virtual STEMLink is available for:

  • $12/student for Metro ECSU member schools/districts
  • $21/student for non-member schools/districts or parents/guardians of individual students

Featured Sessions Below

December Sessions:

Paul Miller – Minnesota Department of Transportation

Straw Tower Construction Challenge

Your challenge is to engineer a way to use straws and tape to construct a tower that will hold a “bucket” (small cup) with increasingly heavy weight. You will make on-the-spot adjustments as you see weak points of the tower buckle or collapse. Designing, building, testing, and re-designing are all part of the challenge.

Paul Miller is an engineer with MnDOT. He has worked with many different aspects of road construction, and he’s excited to be part of our STEM outreach!


Tim Olson – Bolton & Menk, Inc. / APWA – MN

Build a Watershed

Build a watershed at home using supplies found around you. Learn about how rain washes over the land and make predictions about the path water will take. Use food coloring, glitter, and other visuals to simulate pollution and the direction it goes when rainfall becomes runoff.

Tim is a Professional Water Resources Engineer at Bolton & Menk, Inc. He specializes in natural resources planning; water quality practice design and construction; stormwater regulation; geospatial data processing and hydrologic/hydraulic modeling; and building partnerships for environmental protection and education.

November Sessions:

Heidi Ferris – Growing Green Hearts, LLC

Float Your Minnesota Boat

“Gichigami” means big water! Technology is the application of science…that means us with nature too. With Lake Superior in mind, can you master buoyancy and displacement? We will think, create, and play with enviroSTEM as you engineer your own boat using natural or recyclable materials.

Heidi Ferris is the founder and environmental STEM specialist at Growing Green Hearts, LLC. She is author, teacher trainer, outdoor/climate advocate, and community connector. Nature is the air we breathe, water we drink, pollinator habitat we plant, and more…let’s play and problem-solve!

Cory Stuber

Cory Stuber – Minnesota Department of Transportation

Keeping Bridges Safe

For the safety of vehicles, pedestrians, and structures, bridge designs include plans that help prevent the pooling or collection of water on bride decks. What do you think happens to water on a bridge when it rains, snow melts, or an event like a flash flood occurs? Controlling water movement and collection on bridges is an important part of the engineering process to ensure the safety of vehicles, their occupants and the structure itself. In this session you will explore how water moves across the surface of a bridge and how it can be directed to a specific place for collection. You’ll then design and construct your very own bridge draining system!

Cory is a Senior Bridge Engineer with MnDOT and graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in Civil Engineering. He has 15 years of structural engineering experience in the analysis, design & inspection of transportation structures working on a wide-range of bridge projects. Cory was first interested in Engineering early in High School when math became his favorite subject.

October Sessions:

Dr. Renee Nesnidal – Science From Scientists

Blood Typing

Recorded Session

Do you know your blood type? Why is this knowledge important? In this session, students will learn what features determine a person’s blood type through a virtual lab and investigate which blood types are compatible.

Dr. Renee Nesnidal is an atomic physicist specializing in laser and optical engineering. She is an instructor and the Outreach Coordinator for Science from Scientists. In her spare time she is a scout leader and soccer team manager.
Science from Scientists (SfS) is a nonprofit STEM enrichment education organization. Their mission is to inspire a wider variety and greater number of students — regardless of circumstances or means— to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Microsoft Volunteers


Code Your Own Video Game

Live Sessions: October 12 @ 10am & October 21 @ 1pm

Learn how to create your own video game with Microsoft! In this session, we will learn basic coding skills that will help create your own video game using MakeCode Arcade’s game simulator. Customize various aspects of your video game and share your completed work with others.

STEMLink Dunwoody Students

STEMLink at Dunwoody College of Technology

Stay tuned for 2021-2022 plans.

STEMLink Normandale Students

STEMLink at Normandale Community College

Stay tuned for 2021-2022 plans.

STEMLink Century

STEMLink at Century College

Stay tuned for 2021-2022 plans.

With STEMLink, students…

Experience how studying science and math can lead to exciting careers.

Participate in real-world examples of working in the STEM fields.

Leave looking for ways to be more involved in STEM.

2020 Dunwoody STEMLink Session Examples

Coding Industrial Computers Are Easier Than You Think!: An industrial computer is responsible for most of the automation we see in industrial settings and in our daily life–traffic light signals, sprinkler systems, holiday lights, and many more. This session describes and teaches how to code or an industrial computer (also known as a PLC, a programmable logic controller).
Genes to Proteins: This session offers a hands-on simulation of how DNA creates proteins. Students are provided with DNA gene sequences which they must first transcribe into mRNA and then translate into a protein to build a new species, called the Scimon. Students will have the opportunity to investigate the effects of three types of mutations (insertion, deletion, and substitution) on their Scimon model.
Intro to Engineering-Airplane Design: Students will explore the basic steps of engineering by constructing and flying paper airplanes. Teams will step through a product development process to identify multiple airplane designs, building and testing each before selecting the winning design.
Lean With Legos: How can you create a quality product in the shortest amount of time? Work in teams to develop the most efficient process for building a LEGO airplane to meet production goals. Total counts of quality and number of planes creates a winner!
Storm Water Pollution and Watershed Management: In this activity, students explore how various pollutants get into our waters through a hands-on, interactive demonstration of the sources and effects of water pollution. Students will learn ways to prevent pollution from reaching our waters and how prevention is a shared responsibility.


For more information about how your students can participate or if you are interested in presenting, contact Colleen Feller.

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