As a hushed tone fell over the Talley Student Union Ballroom, Aaron Holmes, an NC State engineering student and for one night, a spoken word poet, took the stage.
“I hate chemistry,” Holmes, a senior studying chemical engineering and vice president of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) NC State chapter, exclaimed in his dialogue.
“I hate the entity that explains the very air we breathe. I hate to see the leaves turn green. Wait, let me rephrase that. I hate the interaction between the sky and a tree. The capture of CO2 that we can’t breathe. And the reactions that release the O2 we receive.”
The annual Technimetric Poetry Slam is an initiative designed to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by coupling it with poetry and spoken word.
“It is a truly amazing event,” said Holmes after watching the other student performances. “To see the different thoughts and connections in how people approach STEM poetry is beautiful.”
The 3rd annual performance, held on January 17, was hosted by STEMedia, a digital media company targeting the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics community.
“It’s technical intelligence meets creative genius,” said Dr. Nehemiah Mabry, STEMedia president, NC State Engineering alumnus and creator of the event.
According to Mabry, Technimetric is a unique opportunity for engineering students and other STEM majors to express their creativity while also sharing their love of the sciences. “Every year it’s growing, and it’s amazing to see the building interest from students — which can be seen from the first event being held in Caldwell to now one of the ballrooms in Talley,” said Mabry.
Kane Smego, international spoken word poet and hip-hop artist, served as one of the judges and also performed as a guest poet.
“Events like this help break down the stereotype that you have to choose between science and math and the humanities,” Smego said. “It is a true innovation that comes through the imagination and blending of various subjects.”
Looking to the future, Mabry is hoping for continued growth, future sponsorships and the possibility of taking the idea to other universities. “I can see the value that this event brings to companies, companies that are looking to hire creative and technical talent.”
On January 17, 10 students from various departments in the College participated, sharing poetry on topics ranging from classes and grades to women’s rights.
“The election was rough on me,” said Kayla Mumford, a sophomore in the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, who said the 2016 presidential contest acted as the inspiration for her entry. “I used it as a way to encourage others to use their voices and speak up.”
Along with STEMedia, the STEM poetry slam was sponsored by NSBE, Arts NC State and the College’s Minority Engineering Programs (MEP). Angelitha Daniel, director of MEP, was in attendance at the event representing the program and acting on the panel of judges.
“Every year, we are seeing an increase in student numbers and the event is growing as more students take a stab at creative poetry. I am happy to see this growth not only in numbers, but also in the different ethnic backgrounds of the student poets themselves.”