all the different STEM-related careers in their community
and put faces to jobs they’ve heard about.
When kids hear I’m a machinist while we’re watching
some chips fly, their eyes get wide as they say ‘my dad’s a
machinist’ because it suddenly clicks in their head exactly
what their dad does at work. It also means they get to see
the diverse workforce in their area.
Send Out Event Information Early
— but Not Too Early
I’ve shown up to an event with a couple days’ notice
(luckily a babysitter was available), but I would have been
more prepared with more time. Three months is perfect for
me when it comes to preparing for a show, so I can get all
the giveaways ready, a machine reserved for travel, and all
the other travel arrangements made. If you give too much
notice, it might get pushed aside, or the technology and
information may become dated.
Reserve a Big Space with Lots of
What makes STEM careers interesting is all the toys you
get to play with — machines, microscopes, computers, and
the list continues. These all require power, so make sure
your facility has lots of power strips, space, and Internet
available so you can properly show off all the cool things
we do. Some people will bring spares, but we all end up
sparring for that last socket.
Tell Businesses What to Be Prepared
Most times, presenters like myself get the general
‘come to the event’ email, but we’re not told much more.
Make sure you tell us what type of space is available; if Wi-Fi is available; what type and the age of the crowd you
expect; if you’re doing swag bags so we can contribute;
and all of those smaller event details. One way to do this is
to share a potential packing list to the companies which
could include: business cards, a TV to play video,
pamphlets, an interactive activity, and some type of swag.
One local business brought in animals for the students
to meet. This was a great idea the kids loved!
Make It Interactive
Kids sit in class all day, so this is a great opportunity to
get them some hands-on experience with STEM. I always
talk them through engraving on a machine so they can
walk away with something like a book mark or keychain,
and the pride of knowing it was something they made.
Others have done similar things; I’ve seen a chemistry
professor having students do experiments, engineers
hosting structure building competitions, and a veterinarian
with some animal guests for students to meet.
Another idea is to make meeting the presenters a
game. Some schools do passports, where students have to
go around to all the booths and get a stamp so they could
be entered in a drawing. Another school made all the
presenters baseball trading cards with their picture and
career description on them. This is a great take-away for the
kids, but it does require some planning and information
from the presenters.
Invite the Parents
Getting kids excited about a career in STEM is the first
step, but parents foster that excitement and passion, so
sharing it with them is equally important. One great
example I’ve seen is an event partnered with local
businesses and colleges, so if parents had questions about
what STEM training programs looked like, they could ask
the professors and instructors. SV
SERVO 05.2017 37
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