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ODU students build STEM toys for CHKD hospital patients

Partnering with CHKD, manufacturing and materials students now build for more than grades.

NORFOLK, Va. — "True education consists of knowledge and character." 

Dr. Petros J Katsioloudis refers back to this theory often in our discussion today. 

For students in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies, the knowledge has always been there. Students here have been building things, innovating, since the school opened - often times with an eye towards a strong GPA. 

"I wanted an idea more meaningful for the students," said Katsioloudis. 

In 2015, he innovated. The department chair got in touch with Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, and a partnership began. 

For a select group of classes, they had an annual project where their creations were for much more than just a grade. 

The task was to create a STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) toy for children at the Children's Hospital. 

The project became an annual tradition until 2020, when COVID-19 kept student from their usual resources. The classes resorted to pooling their resources, those with tools doing the building, others the packaging, shipping or design. 

The group ended up sending 300 toys to the patients at CHKD. 

Knowledge and character, a true education.