Techstravaganza moves online



Children participate in a demonstration at Techstravaganza 2019. The 2020 Techstravaganza team hopes to emulate these experiences online in a virtual environment. “We want all of the kids to get the same experiences like if the event were still physical,” Du said.

Neha Panyala, Staff Writer

Tomorrow’s Women in Science and Technology (TWIST) hosts Techstravaganza, one of the largest student-run STEM events at Jefferson, annually. Techstravaganza is a fair for elementary or middle school kids to participate in STEM themed activities, ranging from hands-on experiments to demonstrations which they can watch. Usually, you can see kids doing labs about banana DNA or creating crafts related to STEM. However, this year presents new challenges to create the same experiences, but socially distanced.

Techstravaganza is one of the largest events held at Jefferson, with over 5000 kids from around Northern Virginia coming to engage in the unique demos at the event. However, with the event moving into a virtual space, the planners expect an even higher turnout.

“Every year, we usually have about 5000 kids attend Techstrav. But this time more people have access to a personal device; I think we can expect more kids to come. This can make it easier for kids to watch a demo from their own home,” Du said.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Techstravaganza planning team held their first meeting to discuss ideas relating to how they will handle and collaborate to create the fair.

“In a physical Techstrav, we would have different stalls for the demos that the kids can come do. But this year, we are planning to have virtual rooms this time where the kids can just use a link for a specific demo and come visit,” Rose Du, senior and president of TWIST, said.

However, with any sort of drastic change, there are obstacles to overcome, such as outreach and adapting to a virtual environment.

“We are creating more teams this year to make the virtual event run smoothly. One new team is the Web Development team; this team was created because we wanted to create a website where people can come learn about Techstrav,” Du said. “It is also harder to communicate with the team virtually because of different platforms, but we are finding ways to make this easier.”

Although this year has brought setbacks, there are some advantages to holding Techstrav online.

“I think one advantage would be that we can have more kids come to watch the demos and be a part of Techstrav because of access,” said Du. “It is definitely a change from past years.”