The Kern County STEMposium presented by the Kern Economic Development Foundation was designed to expose middle school and high school students to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related career opportunities in Kern County. The first of its kind event also provided employers a glimpse of the relevant skills students are currently learning in the classroom.
“This was an opportunity for business people to explore the expo and talk with local students about career paths in their own industry. Their experience and insight just might provide the spark needed to light a fire in one of their future employees!” - Cheryl Scott, Executive Director, Kern EDC
The Kern High School District had 22 student exhibits with activities including pharmaceutical compounding, 3D printing, flight simulators, and robotics. Local employers from NASA, Nestle, CRC, Aera Energy LLC, Rio Tinto, Kaiser Permanente, and others, demonstrated equipment used in their daily operation and talked to participants about the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Katie Rodriguez is a senior at Centennial High School (CHS) who will be studying Environmental Engineering and International Development at Colorado State this fall. She enjoyed her STEMposium experience and explained how her engineering group at CHS modeled, created, and printed a 3D test tube rack to make cleaning more efficient for science classes.
Amber Daniel is a Foothill High School student enrolled in the Mobile APP Development Education (MADE) class at the Regional Occupational Center. She plans on attending a trade school and shared with other students at the STEMposium the exciting hands-on learning opportunities including coding and design she experienced this year in MADE.
The Principles of Engineering (POE) class at Bakersfield High School (BHS) spent time talking to and exchanging ideas with other students, as well as visiting the various industry partner booths and learning about career opportunities in their fields. They built a rover robot especially for the STEMposium and really felt like they made an impact on the younger students who stopped by to learn about the POE program at BHS.
A high point of the day for many students was the Chevron STEM Zone in Kern County for the very first time. The STEM Zone was packed with interactive activities geared toward learners of all ages, allowing local young people to explore how STEM relates to everyday life.
The STEM Stage featured many industry experts talking about exciting career opportunities in cyber-security, medicine, video game design, and more. Keynote Speaker, former NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez, shared his journey from working in California’s fields, to working on the International Space Station.
The Inaugural Kern County STEMposium was held May 19, 2017, on the campus of Bakersfield College.