On Friday, April 13, nearly 300 elementary and middle school students from around the Triangle ventured to The RTP Frontier for a day of exploration and engagement at the 2018 STEM in the Park Spring STEM Expo. Festivities included speed mentoring, hands-on demonstrations, an exciting STEM challenge (STEM Tank), and the weekly RTP Food Truck Rodeo.
Over 100 STEM professionals served as speed mentors at the Spring STEM Expo. In speed mentoring sessions, students were able to have conversations with individuals representing a wide variety of careers and academic disciplines. Conversations ranged from favorite hobbies to a day in the life of an engineer and every topic in between. Speed mentoring shows students that there are many different ways to end up with a career in STEM, and no two paths are identical.
In the Paths to the Park session, students were treated to hands-on demonstrations from 30 companies, groups, and individuals showcasing the dynamic world of STEM! With over 100 volunteers, Paths to the Park was humming with activity as students explored how fun and inspiring STEM careers can be. Student votes awarded Caterpillar, Inc. with the coveted “Top Banana” trophies for back-to-back “Best Presenter” titles (they won the same award at the Fall STEM Expo).
STEM Tank Challenge
No Expo day is complete without a little friendly competition! Students competed within small groups in the Marshmallow Challenge during the STEM Tank sessions. Given limited supplies and time, groups worked together to build a “tower” that could hold a giant marshmallow on top without human assistance. We saw a wide variety of approaches and ideas, but none could top Central Elementary’s winning height of 52 inches!
Because we are a nonprofit, the success of the Spring STEM Expo would not have been possible without our event sponsors: AmeriCorps VISTA, Fidelity Investments, IBM, NC Biotechnology Center, NC Science Festival, Red Hat, RTI International, STEWART, Sigma Xi, UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation, and Whiting Turner. Special thank yous go to Chick-fil-A RTP for their food and beverage donations and Kevin Seifert Photography for capturing the event.
Look back at our Fall 2017 STEM Expo