Taking STEM to the next level for Northern Utah Kids

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) isn’t the realm of just boys any longer. According to 74% of middle school girls express an interest in engineering, science, and math.  Dozens of Northern Utah businesses were encouraging all kids to explore STEM subjects as they hosted several busloads of sixth and seventh graders on November 2nd at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds. The message they delivered was that there are a wide array of career options for boys and girls who are interested in going into STEM fields.

Organized by the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Utah, Box Elder County and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, kids could explore robotics, electricity generators, launch paper rockets and had the chance to see and feel a dissected frog. They also got to explore the field of Artificial Intelligence through a presentation by Bill Bourgeous and engineering manager with Intertape Polymer Group of Tremonton. Bourgeous educated audience members regarding the “four industrial revolutions,” saying that we now live in the age of automation. “A common belief is that manufacturing jobs are disappearing in the United States,” Bourgeous said. “The truth is that it’s strong, but it’s becoming automated. We want to make sure these kids are aware of some of the good jobs that are available right here in their community.”

“The STEM fair is designed to get kids into these fields, right here in Box Elder County and Northern Utah,” said Jenny Schulze, Chief of Operations and Community Programming for the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Utah. She wanted to make kids aware of opportunities close by. The motivation behind the event is to demonstrate that they don’t really require a four-year degree to break into these fields. “Sometimes they can get a certificate while they’re still in high school,” she said. “This is about helping them realize that they can have a future in this if they’re interested.”

Schulze says that with advanced mobile phones and other innovation, a lot of kids started into the STEM fields without realizing it. “This new generation has grown up with technology so much, they don’t even realize that they can turn that into a job.”

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