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Raritan Valley Community College’s chapter of the Society for Women Engineers and the RVCC Planetarium recently introduced local children to the wonders of science during Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District’s annual STEM Day.

For the first time, the event spotlighting demonstrations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) was held at JFK Elementary School in Raritan.

The RVCC SWE members engaged students with hands-on demonstrations focusing on electrical energy generation using magnets and coils of copper wire. As a result, approximately 50 children went home with their own “make and take” energy generators made from a straw, copper wire, a magnet, and an LED light.

Additionally, the SWE members showed children how electrical energy is created by harnessing the sun and wind, and even how to make electricity using an apple and a strip of copper and zinc. The SWE participants included RVCC students Madelyn Andrade Cajamarca (North Plainfield), Melissa Armenta-Quiroz (Flemington), and Jimena Torres (North Plainfield).

Bridgewater-Raritan High School student volunteers were invaluable in making the demonstrations a success.

Organized by JFK Elementary School teachers Wayne Segal and Maria Caiola, STEM Day demonstrations included robotics, circuits, hydroponics, fossils, energy generation, renewable energy, and pollinators. In total, over 600 people participated in the program, including 250 children, 50 high school volunteers, parents, school district faculty, and staff.

The RVCC Planetarium, represented by Planetarium Director Amie Gallagher and Jessica Fehl (herself a JFK graduate and longtime planetarium contributor), delighted the children with a hands-on demonstration illustrating the distances to the planets in the solar system.

The energy generation and alternative energy demonstrations were provided and presented in conjunction with the New Jersey nonprofit corporation, Main Engine Start, founded by former RVCC Professor Peter Stupak.

RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg. For further information, visit

Photo Caption: (From left) RVCC Society for Women Engineers members Madelyn Andrade Cajamarca and Melissa Armenta-Quiroz participate in “STEM Day” at JFK Elementary School in Raritan on Feb. 4. Photo courtesy of RVCC.