Be sure to check out the Expo recap video here!
On Friday November 3, STEM in the Park (formerly US2020 RTP) hosted its 6th STEM Expo! If you were at The Frontier, you could feel the excitement and energy from students experiencing all that STEM has to offer. Nearly 30 corporate and university presenters and 300 high school students (from 7 counties!) were brought together for a day of activities designed to expose students to the diverse world of science, technology, engineering, and math academic and career paths.
The Expo itself was split into three sessions: Paths to the Park, Speed Mentoring/STEM Tank, and the Food Truck Rodeo. In Paths to the Park, students enjoyed engaging demonstrations from the presenters on site. From operating Sopo robots with Opobotics, Inc. to virtually controlling a Skid-Steer Loader with Caterpillar, Inc., there was an activity on hand for every interest. An extra special shout out to the entire Caterpillar, Inc. team for taking home the coveted prize as “Best Presenter” which was voted on by the students in attendance.
Across from the excitement of Paths to the Park was a competitive STEM Tank competition between the participating high schools. Ahead of time students were told to come up with a solution to a current sustainability issue in their home towns. Students presented their proposals to a panel of judges who awarded points based on creativity, feasibility, and population impact. We awarded three winners the top prize: Lee County High School, Warren New Tech High School, and STEM Early College at NC A&T.
In addition to the great explorations and ideas, students spoke with STEM professionals who served as Speed Mentors for the morning. In short, 5 minute discussions, students had the chance to pick the brains of industry professionals looking to pay it forward to the next generation. Conversations ranged from school interests to favorite hobbies and everything in between as high schools realize that they have more in common with STEM professionals than they previously thought! No Expo day is complete without a visit to the Food Truck Rodeo! Students were able to enjoy a variety of cuisines from participating vendors.
Being a non-profit, the success of our Expo would not have been possible without our event sponsors: AmeriCorps, Fidelity, Research Triangle Foundation, RTI International, Sigma Xi, and UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation. Special thank yous to Moe’s of Southpoint, and Tomato Jake’s at Southpoint for their food/beverage donations and Kevin Siefert Photography for capturing the event.
[Editor’s Note: Look back at our Spring 2017 Innovation STEM Expo.]