Maddy, an eighth grader at Bishop Heelan-Sacred Heart School, Sioux City, dissects a brain while Jack Eastman, a seventh grader at Sacred Heart, observes.
When 160 middle school students representing all school districts in Woodbury County recently descended upon the campus of Briar Cliff University, little did they know they would experience the sciences in potentially life-changing ways.
Designed to promote a better understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the festival offered students new perspectives as they peered into a cow’s eye, held giant millipede, dissected a brain, experimented with a nursing simulation lab, witnessed glowing bacteria and tested wind energy and computer programming, among many others workshops.
“Iowa is going to need a skilled workforce, and this generation of students will be our problem solvers. They will communicate globally and have critical thinking skills,” said Kari Webb, Northwest Iowa STEM regional manager. “Investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be the key to Iowa’s future.”
Hosted by Briar Cliff, the First Annual STEM Festival was financially supported by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Assisting with planning and developing the event were Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Northwest AEA.
Event sponsors were Iowa Governor’s STEM Northwest Regional Hub, Northwest AEA, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Tyson Foods, CNOS Foundation, Interbake Foods, Loess Hills Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy of Iowa, BCU’s Center for Health Care Initiatives, Center for Prairie Studies, Science Club and Departments of Mathematics, Nursing, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education and Psychology.
Activities were led by Briar Cliff faculty and students and representatives from Tyson Foods, CNOS, ISU Extension and Outreach, Northwest AEA, The Nature Conservancy, and Loess Hills Audubon society. For more information, contact Dr. Ted Wilson, chair of natural and mathematical Sciences and director of the Center for Health Care Initiatives at Briar Cliff.