The Focus is on STEM for All Ages at Annual Festival

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The 2018 Charleston STEM Festival is growing – both in its footprint at Brittlebank Park and in its offerings to older students.

This year’s event on Feb. 3 will have a career concourse geared toward middle and high school students as well as young professionals curious about what kind of degree or certification they need to pursue a STEM career. Festival organizers also are partnering with the Associated Builders and Contractors – Carolinas Chapter to introduce students to potential jobs in construction, electrical engineering and masonry.

STEM has become so prevalent in our society,” says Cyndi Hall, festival co-chair. “A lot of industries are out there looking for professionals. South Carolina is coming up to speed, and we’re seeing the need to involve our students in STEM.”

Entering its fifth year, the Charleston STEM Festival was created to introduce students to a future filled with science, technology, engineering and math. The free event exposes children and their families to career options as well as local resources and educational opportunities.

We see the festival as an introduction to STEM,” says Glenda La Rue, festival co-chair. “This is an entry for things they can do in and out of the classroom.”

More than 80 exhibitors provide hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations and entertainment creating a fun and engaging environment where children are encouraged to learn and ask questions. Festival organizers bring in a diverse mix of professionals so children see adults who look like them working in these STEM careers.

This year’s festival features presenting sponsor, Bosch - which manufactures automotive parts at its North Charleston plant. Thanks to Bosch’s presenting sponsorship, the STEM Festival is welcoming Mind Trekkers to this year’s event. It’s a STEM road show from Michigan Technological University aimed at bringing the “wow” of science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students.

As the festival has added more activities and opportunities, attendance has soared. With more than 10,000 people coming and going from the daylong festival, organizers also have expanded the event’s footprint at Brittlebank Park to create a little more breathing room and add a second festival entrance.

The construction going on near the park also means parking is at a premium. The festival planning team has worked with local parking garages to offer a $5 daily rate, and shuttles will be running to and from parking areas every 15 minutes. Attendees are encouraged to use the shuttles and maps will be posted on the festival website at CharlestonStemFest.org.

The 2018 Charleston STEM Festival is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 at Brittlebank Park. Admission is free. Food trucks will be on site offering food and drinks for purchase. For a schedule of exhibitors and more information, visit CharlestonStemFest.org.