CCHS student starts STEAM initiative

By Brett Callwood

Zander Vaux

Zander Vaux is a junior at Culver City High School, and the founder and creator of the Markerboard – “a student-led initiative that aims to provide students with the tools they need to solve the complex challenges of today and tomorrow through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics).” The Markerboard delivers interactive STEAM kits to elementary and middle schools in the Culver City Unified School District. They’ve already delivered 17 kits (400 dollars worth) to El Rincon Elementary School, and need the help of the community to advance the supply drive. I had always been creative and interested in learning more about topics within STEAM-related topics,” Vaux told the News last week. “However, it was not until the coronavirus hit that I decided to turn my interests into an actual project. While The Markerboard was largely the product of my desire to explore STEAM and share my knowledge with others, it was also an attempt for me to escape the monotony of quarantine. After it gained more momentum, I realized that I could use The Markerboard to help youth who did not have access to educational opportunities in STEAM in the first place, or who lost these opportunities due to the coronavirus.” Vaux started posting Youtube videos to explain the concept and, as his social media presence grew, so did interest in The Markerboard. “I was approached by some other high schoolers also passionate about spreading STEAM,” Vaux said. “Together, we began networking through social media and building a community that today has over 80 members from places around the world. Along the way, we formed systems of support with other youth organizations where we share each other’s content and collaborate. Our organization was built on the support of future generations looking to explore their passions and make an impact.”

The STEAM kits contain Poraxy building kits which are ordered online. “When we reach out to schools, we give them an option to request one of two types of kits,” Vaux said. “One contains building activities like constructing a hydraulic excavator or Newton’s Cradle. The other is more focused on mechanical elements like motorized Ferris wheels and robots. These kits are made by a company called Poraxy. To fund these kits, we do peer-to-peer fundraising and have a donation page on our social media pages where people can donate.” The kits, Vaux said, are aimed at all elementary and middle schoolers. “Part of The Markerboard’s mission is to break down the racial, gender, and socio-economic gap in STEAM,” he said. “Therefore, we do our best to distribute these kits to schools that may contain more minority students and lack the infrastructure to support interactive STEAM education in a classroom setting.” The Markerboard does all of the heavy lifting, obtaining the kits and then delivering them to the schools. “We start by emailing a school and asking if they would be interested in ordering free STEAM kits for their students,” Vaux said. “Upon response, we then order the kits and deliver them to the school. It is then the school that decides which students it will distribute the kits to.” Vaux has high hopes for the future of The Markerboard, with aims to expand beyond Los Angeles. “I also want to release more interviews with professionals in STEAM fields (Interviews found on our channel: The Markerboard – YouTube) to give future generations a chance to hear the voices of successful individuals who have made it in STEAM,” he said. “As far as my career goes, I want to pursue a career that is STEAM-oriented. Right now, I do not know specifically what field I want to major in, however, I love physics and solving problems through creativity and critical thinking. I am going to continue following my passions in high school and beyond, and see where that takes me.”

To help, visit the supply drive page at: