Students set up shop to inspire others to explore science, technology

Top: Students perform a hands-on experiment with water and corn starch at StudentRND in Bellevue on Thursday

It may be summer break, but instead of wasting lazy days in front of the television, a group of Bellevue-based high school students are staying busy with hands-on science experiments and ice cream socials.

Student Research and Development (StudentRND) is a student-run, non-profit organization that aims to inspire students to learn more about science and technology. For the first time, the organization has set up a physical StudentRND workspace in Bellevue where students can drop in, hang out and explore various scientific and technology-based projects.

A $25,000 grant from Chase Community Giving, in addition to many other Student RND donations and hundreds of hours of volunteer work over the last year, made it possible for StudentRND to lease a small space for the summer months at 12729 Northup Way in Bellevue.

“We wanted to create a space that would be welcoming and would act as a community center for junior high and high school students who are interested in science and technology,” explained Edward Jiang, StudentRND CEO. “This is an open environment of learning for all students.”

The organization leased the 1,100 square-foot space for $3,700 for a three month period. Together, they have transformed the empty workspace into an interactive community center with a main room dedicated to displaying the latest StudentRND project called the MakerBot 3D Printer, a fully functional printer which produces pre-designed 3D objects out of plastic. A typical 3D printer costs anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. A team of StudentRND members created a replica for around $1,000.

The main room of the StudentRND workspace also includes several computer stations equipped with Adobe Creative Suite 5, an event board and sponsor wall.

Students can also take advantage of the Reading Room, a place for students to go and relax while lounging on Clifford, a giant red bean bag. Down the hall, students can learn programming on one of the five computers set up in the Computer Room. Currently, members of StudentRND are working on creating a Flash game using Action Script 3 called Apples vs. Oranges. When complete, the game will help bring in revenue for the non-profit organization to help fund future projects.

The new workspace also includes what the students refer to as the Danger Room, housing ongoing electronic projects. In the far back, students gather for weekly meetings and fun experiments such as the recent “Dry Ice Day”.

More than just a hangout spot, the new StudentRND workspace acts as a host for ongoing science and technology lessons taught by the students themselves. Classes include Intro to Computer Hardware and Intro to Electronics. The organization also hosts guest speakers from local companies.

The new StudentRND workspace is open to all students and is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m. To learn more, visit http://studentrnd.org/.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425-453-4602.


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