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2nd Annual Keweenaw Science & Engineering Festival Plans to Spark Local Interest in STEM

KSEF Logo WordsA partnership of local companies, universities and individuals have planned the Second Annual Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival (KSEF) scheduled this August 3-6th. Their mission – to bring the Keweenaw communities together to stimulate and sustain public interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by presenting the most compelling, exciting and educational festival in the Upper Peninsula. This festival is the first one in Michigan to focus on STEM outreach and has big plans to make learning fun again!

Why host a festival like this? Statistics show that out of 100 Michigan 9th grade students, 73 will graduate from high school on time; 45 will enroll in postsecondary education within 12 months of graduation; 32 persist from their 1st year to their second year of college; and only 18 will graduate with a degree within 6 years.

There is a need in America to develop a stronger workforce of STEM experts.  However, if students do not have an initial attraction to STEM, informal learning opportunities are missed opportunities for many students currently underrepresented in STEM.  High-impact festivals, like KSEF can play an important role in attracting the attention of all students.

“There is an attraction gap in STEM fields and a real need for educational festivals like KSEF in the state of Michigan, not just our community,” says Amanda McConnon, Assistant Director, MTU Center for Pre-College Outreach. “The Keweenaw already had the right partners and businesses in place to host another amazing festival. Last year’s event attracted around 2,000 attendees and we hope to once again make a big impact and spark an interest in STEM. We also want to create that WOW! moment through an environment of excitement and hands-on learning while connecting students with groups that can allow them to continue learning throughout the year.”

This festival will again serve as an open forum to showcase all facets of STEM in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula. Events scheduled from Wednesday through Saturday, August 3-6, 2016 and has something for every age group. All activities are free of charge. Some main acts include an Art Exhibit titled “Layers of Superior” at the Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center, the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers, Teen Science Night, Family Engineering Day, Science Pub Crawl, Science in Sports & Health, local FIRST® Robotics Teams and MSU Science Theatre group.

With last year’s Science Pub Crawl being so popular, you won’t want to miss this year’s crawl on Thursday, August 4! Hear from the scientists themselves as you visit various pubs in Downtown Houghton. Science Pub Crawl T-Shirts will be available for purchase at each location.

  • Downtowner Lounge, 7:00 PM – Dr. Philart Jeon and the Mind Music Machine Lab

  • The Continental Fire Company, 7:45PM – MSU Science Theatre presents “Alcohol: The Burning Fuel of Discovery”

  • The Library Restaurant & Brew Pub, 8:15 PM – Dr. Megan Frost for “Wonders of Medicine”

  • Douglass Saloon (Armando’s side), 9:15 PM – Dr. Jeremy Bos on “The Future of Autonomous Vehicles”

For more details and a complete schedule of events visit www.keweenawscience.org.  Most events are scheduled at the large tent located at Ray Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton.

Current partners include Michigan Technological University, the Keweenaw Community Foundation,  Northern Hardwoods: A Longyear Company, Superior National Bank, City of Houghton, City of Hancock, MTEC SmartZone, GS Engineering, Miners State Bank,  Walmart, UP Health Systems – Portage, local teams from FIRST® LEGO® League, FIRST® Tech Challenge and the FIRST® Robotics Competition, MSU Science Theatre and more!

Additionally, we are looking for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks from setting up table, to assisting with hands-on engineering challenges. For more information please email info@keweenawscience.org.

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