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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

    Innovative thinkers

    Science, Math and Engineering Club ( SMEC). Evan E. Duran | [email protected]

    In between demanding courses, making homemade organic soap and growing lettuce from hydroponic units, ambitious students in the Science, Math, Engineering Club are just trying to stay afloat—literally.

    Mark Webster, a mathematics and statistics professor at City College, started the club four years ago so students could work together on projects that apply the abstract concepts taught in physics, chemistry, biology, math and engineering classes in practical and fun ways.

    “My mission was to bring some creativity into science, math and engineering, and the club has filled that need—that hunger of people [wanting] to be creative,” said Webster.

    This semester three dozen active members made organic soap from scratch to donate and sell for fundraisers.

    “We used the process of saponifi cation. We used a lot of natural ingredients like olive oil, thyme and cinnamon to add anti—oxidant properties to the soap,” said club president and biochemistry major Phuong Ngoc Lan Le, 19. “Right now we are actually giving it away as donations, and we are hoping to accumulate a good customer base.”

    SMEC’s focal project this semester is the hydroponic units in which they are growing lettuce and spices on a water-based system.

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    The club also competes with other community colleges. Last semester SMEC held a cardboard boat race against students from American River City College. The only materials either club could use included cardboard, duct tape and paint for aesthetic value.

    “ARC won, but it is ok. I think we will still try to be ambitious and competitive, and hopefully, next time we’ll win,” said Lan Le. “It was completely new.”

    Members of SMEC come from all different stages in their academic career to learn from projects hands-on and from other students in a relaxed atmosphere, Lan Le said.

    “I like that they are hands-on and that I can experiment,” said computer engineering major and club secretary Joao Xavier. “The best thing is exposure to the field.”

    The club welcomes new members in any stage of academia to learn, according to Lan Le. SMEC will soon be working on a new competition making PVC furniture between club members and willing City College students. The club also has a website where students can view photos from previous projects.

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