The Kern County Fairgrounds bustled with students flocking from booth to booth during the Second Annual Kern County STEMposium where they watched demonstrations, participated in hands-on exhibits and spoke with local organizations on all things science, technology, engineering and math.
Organized by the Kern Economic Development Foundation, the STEMposium is designed to spark youths’ interest in STEM-related fields and make them aware of the opportunities available within Kern County.
STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics
More than 2,500 students, ranging from elementary school to high school, were in attendance, with some traveling as far as Ridgecrest.
“We had students of all ages here from all over the county, from Elk Hills to Ridgecrest,” said KEDF Executive Director Cheryl Scott. “This year, we invited more elementary schools to participate because we are learning more and more about how important it is to introduce career options at a young age. It was inspiring to see adults who love their profession sharing that passion with children.”
The science-fair-meets-job-fair event included a flight simulator courtesy of North High School’s aviation program; the Chevron STEM Zone, which featured games and hands-on activities; exhibits from local high school students that demonstrated skills necessary to be successful in STEM fields; a variety of speakers, including a young STEM professionals panel and “Weather Jeopardy” with KERO chief meteorologist Elaina Rusk; and more, nearly doubling in size from last year’s debut.
“The STEMposium is a place where students can showcase what they’ve created and teach others the enjoyment they get out of the engineering and STEM education classes,” said Holli Shelton, Fruitvale Junior High Project Lead the Way Robotics Program instructor. “It also allows junior high students to see what industry is doing. They can see how they can transition from robotics to a future career that is available in their own backyard.”