More than 800 students in fifth through 12th grades will converge on the UW–Platteville campus for the 44th annual Engineering, Mathematics and Science Expo April 9.
The event provides students with a hands-on introduction to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields through more than 50 exhibits, demonstrations and contests.
Nearly 300 UW–Platteville students and faculty are involved in the event, through creating projects and exhibits and volunteering at the Expo. The event also gives UW–Platteville alumni a chance to get involved; many alumni who work in industry volunteer to judge the Expo projects.
According to Jaclyn Esqueda, special programs manager in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Student Success Programs and chair of the 2015 Expo, the Expo attendees are at a pivotal age when it is crucial to nurture their interest in the STEM fields.
“Right now in the United States, we are lacking the qualified STEM graduates that the workforce needs,” said Esqueda. “This issue is projected to continue, with many of the STEM fields growing at faster than average rates in the next 10 years. We know that as students come into middle and high school, and as they start to think about what they want to be when they grow up, many with the aptitude for STEM careers will lose interest. What we want to do is show the breadth of opportunity and also how fun it can be to meet these challenges and be able to have a true impact on your society and your world.”
Attendees are primarily from the tri-state area, but also include groups from as far away as north central Wisconsin and the suburbs of Chicago.
For the first time this year, Kimberly–Clark is a corporate sponsor and engineers from the company will host a project activity at the event.
“I think their involvement is going to bring some good excitement to the event,” said Esqueda. “It will be another way the participants can interact and see what those in industry do and what they’re about.”
According to Esqueda, the event sees many returning schools and draws interest from new schools each year. “Teachers like to bring students to this because it is on a larger scale than what they usually have the capacity to do in their classroom,” said Esqueda. “It also gives the students the chance to interact with students from other schools and with current college students.”
The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit uwplatt.edu/expo.