UCF STEM Day Inspires Thousands
The Center for Initiatives in STEM (iSTEM) Office hosted over 1,300 students in grades K-12 for UCF’s bi-annual STEM Day on Friday, November 6th.
STEM Day was a free outreach event for K-12 students interested in learning more about the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The day featured a wide variety of activities focused on STEM disciplines, while showcasing some of the best of UCF’s faculty, students and programs.
“This [was] all about making Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics real for students so they can see how exciting it is and why it matters,” said Melissa Dagley, executive director of iSTEM.
Some economic projections have pointed to a need for 1 million more STEM professionals in the U.S. than what universities are currently producing to maintain its preeminence in science and technology.
“If they can see all the options early, then they can continue to work hard in school and have the opportunity to pursue these areas in college and perhaps one day solve some of our most pressing world problems,” Dagley said.
The event provided students with an opportunity to explore the exciting disciplines through more than 60 hands-on activities, demonstrations, speakers, and exhibits designed and led by UCF’s faculty and students.
The event began with three separate opening sessions, split by grade level, and led by current and past astronauts. STEM day was co-hosted by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, whose mission is to aid the U.S. in retaining its world leadership in science and technology, by providing college scholarships for the very best and brightest students pursuing STEM degrees.
The following COS departments participated in STEM Day:
- Anthropology Department
- Chemistry Department
- Mathematics Department
- Nicholson School of Communication
- Physics Department
- Political Science Department
- Psychology Department
- Sociology Department
UCF Robotics Club, UCF Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Student Chapter, and Women of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (WEECS) are just a few of the campus organizations who participated in this year’s STEM day. Other UCF Departments along with NASA representatives were also in attendance.