Laker Life Briefs 7/15/2019

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Girls take flight at summer engineering camp

Throughout the month of June, middle school girls had the opportunity to build and fly their own radio-controlled airplanes at Grand Valley State University’s annual STEPS day camp. The Science Technology and Engineering Preview Summer camp offers a hands on experience in flight concepts and engineering through two sessions, each culminating in a Fly Night at Warped Wings Fly Field. 

Thanks to Grand Valley’s partnership with Battle Creek Public Schools, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a number of STEPS-specific sponsors, the campers went on field trips to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and the Amway/Alticor airplane hanger. They also got to meet with Tim Evans, GVSU associate biology professor who went on a 45-day NASA simulated space mission, as well as the GVSU engineering students who personally built and tested a device for NASA’s Houston Space Center.

The camp had nearly 100 girls participating, from middle schools across both West Michigan and Battle Creek. 


Alumni paints the town rainbow

Sheldon Avenue has a colorful new street mural thanks to the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority and Grand Valley State University alumni Joey Salamon. Salamon, whose passion for murals goes back to his days at Calder Art Center, used 40 gallons of paint to cover the 7,000 square feet of pavement making up “Rainbow Road.”

The mural, located next to Apartment Lounge (Michigan’s oldest, consistently-operating LGBTQ bar), commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots. According to city officials, “Rainbow Road” is the most extensive street mural in the City of Grand Rapids. The design incorporates both the classic rainbow of the gay flag as well as Salamon’s own geometric style.


Record-breaking police academy class visits West Grand Rapids

Grand Valley’s Police Academy took a field trip to neighborhoods in the West Side of Grand Rapids last month, handing out crime prevention brochures and a total of 960 LED light bulbs to local residents. The exercise was intended to give trainees an opportunity to serve and interact positively with the community. 

The 2019 class of 48 recruits (37 men and 11 women) is the largest that the university has ever seen. The recruits started in April and will graduate mid-August at the end of GVSU’s spring and summer semesters.

The “in-service” recruits who were hired before the semester started will then move on to complete field training under the law enforcement agencies who sponsored them. This year, there are 17 in-service recruits, coming from the Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Haven Department of Public Safety, Muskegon City Police Department, Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.