The WashingtonExec STEM Council’s will host the 2015 K-12 STEM Symposium on March 7, 2015, at the Nysmith School for the Gifted, in Herndon, to bring together industry and government executives, students, teachers and nonprofit organizations for the rallying purpose of expanding the dwindling STEM pipeline. The theme for the event is “Get informed. Get excited. Get started.”
The interactive event aims to pick up where last year’s widely attended inaugural fair left off in the move to shore up the country’s STEM education and workforce training and meet concerns that the U.S. trails its international competitors when it comes to producing a workforce literate in STEM skills.
Accordingly, 19 percent of those who graduated with bachelor’s degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education in 2012 collected diplomas in the STEM fields. STEM bachelor’s degree awardees in China, comparatively, comprised exactly half of the diploma winners during the same year, according to the National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Indicators from 2012.
With presenting sponsor Leidos, the free symposium encourages students to showcase their skill sets and interests and invites experts to offer their insight to student and parents about the value of a STEM skill-set so as to aid initiatives to bolster the local STEM pipeline.
Parents in attendance will receive a “How To” guide on how they can encourage their children to pursue a STEM-related career, along with information on internships, shadowing initiatives, before/during/after school programs and science fairs; local programs available in the community to help engage students in STEM-related activities — from short one-day programs to week-long summer camps; and information about STEMExec.com, an outlet profiling what area companies, government agencies and executives are spearheading initiatives within the overall local STEM community.
Last year’s inaugural event drew 1,500 students, teachers, parents, executives and an astronaut for an all-day interactive event.
During the opening session, Michele Weslander Quaid and Ann Barron-DiCamillo, with leadership roles at Google and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, respectively, spoke on the panel, “Industry & Government Perspectives: Workforce Needs and Solutions.” Rob Zitz, the STEM Symposium’s Co-Chairman and Senior Vice President of the National Security Sector at Leidos, moderated the panel.