STEMfest Showing Value of STEM Skills With Local Relevance

Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 by GROW Licking County

The Works, Newark’s science center, held the 2016 version of it’s popular event, STEMfest recently.  STEMfest is both a competition for middle and high school students as well as an industry exposition with hands-on activities for parents and kids.  2016 showed that The Works’ efforts have grown over the eight years since the first Industry Day back in 2008.
There were more teams than ever, including 39 from Newark City Schools.  Newark City Schools had zero teams just a few years ago.
There were around 1,000 people taking part, including 560 on Saturday alone.  That’s pretty darn good for a suburban place like Licking County.
Science museums struggle to maintain the interest of older kids.  Not The Works.
It all started in 2008 when STEM Industry Day was launched to show give hands-on demonstrations of the value of STEM skills to a 500+ audience on a Sunday that March.  The concept is to bring parents and kids together with industry to show the local relevance of STEM skills. 
There’s nothing typical about the day.  National names like Boeing, Siemens, Covestro, and Time Warner join forces with locally-based companies like Bionetics, Polymer Technologies, and Screen Machine Industries.  Parents get to see their kids having fun with science.  Kids get inspired to see, first-hand, the value of STEM skills to a career close to home.
The competition isn’t typical either.  Middle school and high school kids compete in teams to produce drinkable water from pond scum, make a weight-supporting bridge out of toothpicks, or keep the chill out of an energy-efficient model home.  Industry sponsors judge the teams and mentor them to success.  The high schoolers have four years’ worth of chances to win college scholarships.  Students also open doors to internships and future shadowing opportunities.
The STEM demonstrations in Licking County don’t stop. The 2016 edition of Aerospace Center STEM Industry Day is Saturday, March 12 at The Works with Air Force, Bionetics, Boeing, Chromocare, Mistras Group, and Samuel Strapping among the companies taking part.
See more at Newark Advocate: STEMfest Stimulates Education.

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