Six middle schoolers eyed one another silently as they set their racecars on the starting line in Restek’s gymnasium and waited for the countdown.
“3, 2, 1, GO!”
Letting go, the rear wheels gripped the floor and began moving the 8 oz., battery-powered vehicles. Two of the cars immediately veered sharply to the left and two struggled to accelerate, while two others roared ahead, crossing the finishing line neck and neck.
“It’s all in how much care they put into the details,” Liz Kisenwether, founder and president of KidTech said, explaining why the six different cars acted so differently during the race.
The nonprofit organization was onsite at Restek on April 26 for its annual Bring Your Child to Work Day.
Restek formed a relationship with KidTech this year through a shared interest in exposing elementary and middle school kids to science.
“It’s a lot of fun organizing this event every year,” Brian Yangula, a process improvement engineer at Restek, said.
In past years, Restek created CSI mysteries to solve and hosted manufacturing tours. This year, more than 40 kids filled the gym with their automotive creations and were testing them in races and obstacle courses before heading to lunch. Yangula thanked those on the committee, including Brittany Varner, Chris English, Jesse King, Christina Hill, Adam Clark, Alexandria Pavkovich, Samantha Reichart, Jerimiah Etters, and Lori Dundon.
“It’s great to bring my son here and show him what I do,” Greg Hargrove, a Restek chemical engineer, said. “He’s really into math and science and this is a great opportunity to build something technical and fun.”
This was the third time Fiona Dundon and Anna Marcovitch had built a car, so they spent most of their time that day helping others.
“It’s really hard to get the gear onto the axle,” Fiona said. “You have to sand it down to make it smooth and really push hard to get it on there.”
The girls are members of the Tech Club at the local Delta Program Middle School and were part of the reason KidTech was introduced to Restek.
“I loved what KidTech was doing so I wanted to see if we could help,” said Fiona’s mom, Lori Dundon, a marketing manager at Restek.
Restek donates to dozens of causes, projects, and nonprofits focused on science throughout the year, including the Girl Scouts STEM expos, Penn State’s Science U and Discovery Space. On this day, KidTech also received a donation of $1500 so it could host more events around Centre County like the one at Restek.
“It’s cool that a local company understands that kids need to get exposed to science early,” Kisenwether said. “Restek’s support is a huge help with our mission.”
For more information about KidTech, visit kid-tech.org.