STEMapalooza offers tools, options for a brighter future

By Staff

Three years running and STEMapalooza is stronger than ever as the Oct. 8-9 STEM showcase welcomed more than 11, 000 students and adults, including more than 8,000 on the first day. In an effort to put STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the spotlight, exhibitors from all over the state came to display the latest innovations and engage students. Each student was able to participate in hands-on activities, including video-game creation, examining the "Jungle Lady's" creatures, microscopic exploration and planetarium domes.

"We came last year and the kids loved it," said Angela Hadaway, the leader of an after-school program at Trinidad Middle School. Through MESA Colorado (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement), a group of students at Trinidad Middle School are able to participate in a program that allows further exploration of STEM. These students made the trip from Trinidad to participate in STEMapalooza, staying the night at a local Boys and Girls Club facility. Haley Dove, an eighth-grader at Trinidad Middle School and a second-year STEMapalooza attendee, enjoyed viewing and participating in science projects.

Noah Sartori, another student at Trinidad Middle School, was taken by the robotics display. The exhibit was a collaborative effort through the Robotics Group with UC Denver, Colorado FIRSTRobotics and other schools.

"I really lik everything at STEMapalooza, but my favorite was all the robot stuff. It was so cool!" Sartori said.

Found roaming around the event was UC Denver Chancellor Jerry Wartgow. "This is fantastic!" he said. "The event has really grown and developed, and the kids love it." Wartgow looks forward to seeing the positive impact events such as STEMapalooza will make on students across the state, as well as on the next generation work force and economy in Colorado.

Many participating UC Denver program members were pleased with the success of the annual event. Donna Long, an exhibitor for the University of Colorado College of Nursing, volunteered at a booth that allowed participants to listen to a healthy heart and learn what it meant to keep your heart healthy.

"It's exciting to see kids who want to learn," Long said. "And this event is a great way to reach out and improve public relations for us. With the large number of home-schooled children and teachers that attended, it really helps us show how much we care about future generations."