Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Mason to host 1,000 students on Elementary School Day

January 12, 2018   /   by John Hollis

Approximately 1,000 elementary school students, including more than 800 fifth-graders, will visit George Mason University Wednesday, Jan. 17 for Elementary School Day to further expand their academic horizons before attending a Patriots women’s basketball game at EagleBank Arena.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for aspiring college-bound kids to see what a 21st-century college campus looks like,” said Sean Mallon, Mason’s associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation. “It’s not so much their parents’ campus anymore.”

The students will arrive well before the rare 11 a.m. tip-off for the basketball game against Richmond to take in 12 Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)-based exhibits set up along the arena concourse featuring robotics, bioengineering, interactive game design, and a musical instrument “petting zoo.”

The students will also receive a handout with STEAM exercises and terminology from the exhibits, along with a book, to take back to school.

While at the arena, students will also be treated to a new video featuring the Mason women’s basketball team and another chronicling the inspiring story of Isabella Nicola. The sixth-grader from Alexandria, who was born without a left hand and with only a partial bone from her left elbow to her wrist, will play the violin at halftime with Doc Nix and the Green Machine using a 3-D printed prosthetic bow arm completed last year by a senior design team of five Mason bioengineering majors.

Prior to the game, a select group of 45 students will get a guided tour of the Mason campus, stopping at the Observatory, Exploratory Hall, and the Art & Design Building before ending at The MIX (Mason Innovation Exchange), a space dedicated to multi-disciplinary collaboration and experiential learning. While there, the students will receive a real-time demonstration of 3-D technology from Mallon.

“We’re thrilled,” said Dawn Hicks, the director of community relations for the Mason athletics department. “It’s an outstanding opportunity to engage elementary school students. Bringing them to campus provides a real-time experience that reinforces their school curriculums and demonstrates what is possible for them to accomplish, while exposing them to college athletics.”