News Article - 3 minute read

Sigma Mu Mu Chapter Supports Academies of Loudoun STEM Program

On March 25, 2023, Sigma Mu Mu Chapter, Third District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.,
supported the Academies of Loudoun Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
(STEM) Program in Leesburg, VA. The STEM Program coincides with their annual VEX
Robotics Competition and is designed to engage, motivate, and inspire students in STEM subject
areas as well as related career pathways. Sigma Mu Mu’s Brother Duane Key, a retired electrical
engineer, spoke to more than forty elementary and middle school students as one of the
program’s featured speakers.
Brother Keye started his presentation with the younger students by asking each student what they
want to do when they grow up. The students immediately perked up as they were more than
eager to share their career aspirations. He received a vast array of vocations ranging from singer
and fashion designer to microbiologist and programmer. Then Brother Keye explained to each
student how their career choices, no matter how unusual, involved some aspect of STEM. From
the singer who can now digitally record, produce, master, and distribute their music to the
fashion designer who needs to use statistical data and math to manage their clothing line, STEM
is part of every career.
The older students were more tech-savvy so Brother Keye was able to cover more specific
engineering topics. He spoke about the multitude of applications for computer chips, including
cars, airplanes, watches, televisions, computers, and refrigerators. He then discussed multiple
technical disciplines that support the manufacture of semiconductor devices, such as robotics,
chemistry, electronics, materials science, mechanical engineering, optics, photolithography, and
physics. Brother Keye also showed the students actual silicon wafers and described how wafers
are made of thin slices of highly pure crystalline silicon. He explained that wafers are especially
useful in building electronic circuits because of their conductivity and affordability.
Brother Keye’s message was well-received by the students, as he took the time to answer all of
their questions and encouraged them to continue pursuing a STEM pathway. The event
coordinator was very appreciative and has already invited Brother Keye to participate in the
program next year. As the co-chairman of the Sigma Mu Mu Chapter STEM Committee, Brother
Keye continually works to inspire learning that benefits the common good, resulting in
individual gains in STEM skills. This leads to stronger communities due to students applying
their skills to solve relevant community issues.