SARASOTA — The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab continues to work to help the community.

In recent months, it has worked on a face mask and shield project, hosted a blood drive with SunCoast Blood Centers and is now creating COVIDucation to assist Sarasota County Schools.

The Student Community Innovation Program helped spark the latest project.

“SCIP provides high school and college students with an opportunity to give back to their community by innovating a solution to a local need,” it said in a news release. “With the help of talented mentors and access to a state-of-the-art fabrication lab, students bring an idea from concept to creation and build hard and soft skills that will help them excel in future pursuits.”

It is lead by Mimi Faulhaber, a graduate of Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design.

The team partnered with Sarasota County Schools “to discover how they could aid in the imminent reopening of schools.”

Through feedback, they developed a website-application called “COVIDucation” which delivers “accurate COVID-19 information to elementary school students through an engaging storybook format.”

The team tailored content for students to understand the virus and its impact.

“What began as an opportunity of growth for our students has flourished into a resource that has the ability to help all students and families navigate this unprecedented time,” SSC Executive Director Ping Faulhaber said in a news release. “We welcome families locally, nationally and globally, to use COVIDucation as a learning tool and conversation-starter.”

The team included Sarasota County high school alum Mimi Faulhaber, Alexander Gage, Christiana Guan, Michael Gutierrez, Won Namgoong, Alyssa Steinbaum and Claire Wang along with current Sarasota County Schools students Naina Chauhan, Julia Chen, Alexiya Mikerina, Diego Morales and Kasumi Wade.

They worked remotely with software programming and design experts for the the website during the summer.

“Against all odds, I am amazed at how much we have been able to accomplish, and it’s been such a great experience to work with people who saw these challenges as an opportunity and not an obstacle,” SCIP member Naina Chauhan said in the news release.

District officials said they were grateful for the work.

“We are so grateful for the desire of these young people to be helpful during this pandemic,” noted Dr. .

“Their brilliance and energy combined to create an innovative solution for teachers and parents of our younger students,” Sarasota County Schools Assistant Superintendent Laura Kingsley said. “I believe this web-app will be the go-to, engaging resource for our families and teachers to use with younger children. It’s heartwarming to watch these students take an interest in the wellbeing of others in our community.”

The website is http://coviducation.net.

For more information on the Fab Lab, email info@suncoastscience.org or call 941-840-4394.

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