Conquering the Summits of STEAM: 3rd Annual STEAM Summit

Parul Pari, Magazine Editor-in-Chief

With well over 500 attendees already signed up, the D95 3rd annual STEAM Summit is being held Saturday, Feb 2nd from 12pm to 4pm. The event is funded by the District 95 Educational foundation funds and is an opportunity for students from 3rd to 8th grade  to come and learn more about the fields of STEAM by listening to guest speakers and working hands on with new STEM technology.

“The nice thing about this is that the student and their parent will be an engaging, sort of in a trial and error [environment] and be exposed to different technologies like the LEGO, makey makey, OSObots, and the Snap circuits. All of the different stem based learning tools to give great exposure to all of those things. It’s something everyone can do and you don’t have to come with any knowledge or skill set, you just kind of come. We are [also] bringing in those industry partners such as Medline, to show how does this turn into a future careers. Medline is going to be bringing medical devices to be trained as a medic. Say the astronaut were to be sick and need IV fluids or have some blood work done, you’re going to actually use the real medical devices and pretend to be a medic,” Beth Slaughter, District Development Coordinator, said.

In addition to the experts from Medline, there will be a station with different representatives from different careers that students have the opportunity to approach and ask question.

“We are going to do a ‘ask an expert about their career’, which will be an informal way to [learn more about the careers in STEM] like ‘oh you’re a civil engineer, what does a civil engineer do?’ They are going to be wearing little buttons that say ask me about my career and this cafeteria is going to be mission control. The theme is space and planets, out of this world, and so we are going to have the experts over here by the courtyard,” Slaughter said.

Tiffany Yen, senior and leader of the STEAM club, is one of the NHS volunteers at the event who is majoring in a STEAM field. Yen says that she gained most of her knowledge of her major, chemical engineering, at programs outside of school.

“I want to major in chemical engineering so I really wanted to support and promote the fields of STEAM in our school because I didn’t really learn [about what STEAM is] from our school, but rather outside of school, so I just wanted people to know about it,” Yen said. “Especially my major, chemical engineering, they help out all over the world. There is a phrase that ‘chemical engineers touch everything’ and they make plastics and mass produce the prescription drugs that help people get medicine and I was really into the idea of serving the people and chemical engineering and computer science is the basis behind everything.”

There is no age restriction, according to Slaughter, on when you can start expanding your knowledge about careers in STEAM.

“It’s never too young to be thinking and exposing and learning and growing so you’ll see, we want to do more opportunities to start the process earliest so you have an idea when you have to pick your coursework coming into high school or just the different experiences,” Slaughter said.