STEM-related jobs offer some of the highest paying salaries in the country and are in big demand. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, college-educated STEM job holders earn up to 39% more an hour than non-STEM employees, with the same education.
Many schools in North Dakota don’t have the resources or funds to offer these types of courses.
That’s why Gateway to Science created STEMzone. The program delivers ready to go, hands-on STEM activities to schools and other organizations.
They set it up like a carnival and it’s all mobile. They go to different schools around the state and they told me they have gone as far as Minnesota.
KX got to check out one of their most recent events they held at Prairie Rose Elementary.
STEM Leader at Gateway Science, Janet Rosario says, “We bring stations or activities that are all under the STEM umbrella, so we have science, technology, engineering, and math activities for the kids to do.
The Gateway to Science Center has been putting on STEMzone events for nearly 3 years now. They hold programs for kindergartners all the way to seniors in high school.
“Since we are doing kindergarten through 5th grade we have some of our lower level activities depending on the grade level we do,” says Rosario.
They offer 28 different activities and never use the same one twice at returning schools. All that is needed from the schools are tables and volunteers.
I talked to one of the STEMzone participants who gave me the low-down on some of his favorite ones.
“I went and built a structure and it survived a landslide and then I built a machine that turns on a fan and stuff with a battery pack,” says Prairie Rose Elementary student Logan Hedden.
Participant Ava Davis says she not only had a blast but knows how meaningful STEM activities are.
“These activities might be important when you get older if you become engineers or scientist or even astronauts,” says Davis.
Rosario tells me they are the only program that offers something like this in North Dakota. She says unfortunately not every school can offer them and she’s grateful she has been able to reach the kids who have never gotten to experience or know about STEM careers.
“It makes me really happy because my background is in science, so I’m glad I have this opportunity to go out throughout the state and expose kids to this, says Rosario. “And hopefully spark some interest and pursue a career like I did in science.”
Rosario adds their ultimate goal is to reach as many students across the state as they can. They just got a new STEMzone van so they hope that will allow them to travel to even more places.
There are grant funds that can also help schools with a portion of the cost of bringing a STEMzone event to your school. For more information about that, click here.