STEM RTP took over Frontier RTP’s coworking space November 8 as we hosted our first STEM Fest of the 2019-2020 season! About 116 students from 7-12 grade representing six Durham and Wake County schools joined us for a day of Tech and Engineering focused activities. The event was held in partnership with Duke Energy (our event sponsor), the Army Research Office, Credit Suisse, the US EPA, NetApp, Red Hat, and Skanska. To start the day, Indira Everett, District Manager for Duke Energy, gave inspiring opening remarks to everyone in attendance.
As with past Fests, students rotated through five sessions: Build, Think, Imagine, Meet and Eat (Lunch).
During the Build session, Code the Dream brought technology to life with VR, XR and AR that students could interact with using phone apps and laptops.
In Think, students had the opportunity to walk through challenging design thinking problems with company participants who encouraged the students’ creativity and critical thinking. A few of the challenges posed included helping protect K-9 units in combat situations (ARO), improving technology in education (Red Hat) and increasing energy efficiency and infrastructure (Duke Energy).
In Imagine, students explored careers in fields such as software engineering, field and technical support engineering and air quality science. Skanska’s project, which highlighted construction through laser scanning and drones, was voted Best Imagine Presentation by the students.
The Meet session gave students an opportunity to interact with STEM professionals from different backgrounds and walks of life. Professions ranged from data analysts to Ph.D. students and CEOs of local STEM companies. Students had several brief, one-on-one conversations with these professionals to learn more about the person behind the career and the various pathways that can be taken to enter STEM fields.
During the Eat session, sponsored by NetApp, students had a moment to relax and get creative by building their own “STEM Superheroes.” At the end of the day, several superheroes were randomly selected, and their creators were given a coveted STEM RTP t-shirt as a prize.
We look forward to keeping you updated as we move into the new year of events. Another BIG thank you to all our sponsors, volunteers, participants, teachers, and students for bringing your energy and enthusiasm to our Fest!