BY AVA PEITZ
WEST BURLINGTON – On February 10th, SCC in West Burlington was bustling with activities. STEMFest takes science, technology, engineering, and math and makes them fun!
This year’s festival was the fifth dor the event. Adults, children, and teens alike were able to visit booths where they could learn about STEM related careers, and scope out several classrooms with different career explorations. Healthcare and other STEM-related professions are constantly growing careers, and many sponsors that held a booth at STEMFest hoped to teach young children how they could make an impact on the world by learning about STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Dana Millard, the marketing and communications coordinator for Lee County Economic Development group, believes that the STEMFest is an opportunity for individuals of all ages to learn about different STEM careers in the area. Millard said 700 students registered for the program and more than 1,700 people attended.
“I like to see all the different activities with the employers and businesses. One thing that you don’t see everyday is how STEM interacts with our day-to-day lives. I love seeing how kids can make that connection here at the STEMFest.”
Many students attending enjoyed taking hobbies and turning them into possible careers, such as Elizabeth Ebbing, a freshman at Holy Trinity Catholic High School.
“I’ve always liked science and engineering, so every year I love to come. STEMFest gets better and better each year, but this is the best I’ve ever seen it,” Ebbing said.
Elizabeth’s father, Jeff Ebbing, is the marketing director for Southeastern Community College. Ebbing said he hopes that students will enjoy learning about all of the interesting careers, even if they’re not interested in science.
STEMFest is the perfect activity for families, with multiple workshops and booths that children of all ages would enjoy.
Meg D’Souza, an assistant to Jeff Ebbing, hopes that students will be able to grasp an idea of a future career that they would enjoy.
“I hope that the kids here will come up with new ideas, and maybe some experiments they’d like to try when they get home. It’s perfect for families to have a fun time on this snowy day.” she said.
There is a constant growing demand for STEM related careers, so it’s a great thing for students to be learning about career fields that might interest them early on. Camila Almeida and Meghan Riley, college students attending SCC, would agree.
“I hope that they get really motivated into going out and experiencing technology, because it’s the future of our world. I think it’s really valuable for students to be motivated from a young age to check out STEM career fields,” Almeida said.
Overall, the STEMFest was a total success, and will continue annually. Find out more information about Southeast Iowa STEMFest here: http://se.iowastem.org.