Students visit Westfield Gas and Electric for STEM week

Hampden County

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The fourth annual STEM week is taking place this week in Massachusetts. It starts from Monday, October 18 to Friday, October 22.

22News spent the first day of STEM week with students from Westfield Middle School who were learning about career opportunities in the field. This year’s theme for STEM week is “See yourself in STEM” which was exactly what the students from Westfield Middle School did Monday.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This week has brought together schools, non-profit organizations, colleges, museums, and employers across Massachusetts to expose students and excite them about potential career paths. On Monday, Westfield Gas and Electric had their first group of students visit them to learn about what they do and how it relates to them.

“In our classroom, I like to teach the what and the how and we also like to teach to the why and visiting a facility like this really helps the kids understand why they’re learning what they’re learning,” said Pat Dufraine, Computer Science teacher at Westfield Middle School.

Students listened to two presentations explaining how things work, what type of educational backgrounds some of the workers had and then had a tour of the facility and trucks. After a brief lunch, students learned about all the different career opportunities this company offers.

Students have been looking forward to this field trip since last years STEM week, but due to the pandemic, it didn’t happen until now. “I think of these eighth graders were sixth graders when we went into this pandemic and to think that this is the first field trip that they’ve had the opportunity to go on and what a powerful impact it makes to listen to professionals here at the gas and electric and kind of show them that you know what, what you’re learning has a direct impact on what we do here and the end result is what the customers receive for gas electric and internet,” said Dufraine.

The day spent at the Westfield Gas and Electric company gave students many resources as well as provided them with hands on experiences where they were able to see what they were learning in the classroom being applied to real life.

STEM week continues for the rest of the week.

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