Weeks worth of events will promote STEM

By Burton Speakman



The Seven Days of STEM event is designed to promote the efforts of various groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the Mahoning Valley.

The idea started with the Silly Science Sunday event at OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology, said Katie Seminara, assistant manager for OH WOW!. The seven days starts Sept. 15 and concludes with Silly Science Sunday on Sept. 21.

“Silly Science Sunday will be free to the public this year for the first time,” she said. “We’ll have part of the street closed down, and of course, [OH WOW!] will be open.”

The goal of the event is to make people aware of all the good work that is being done in the Valley in STEM development and education, Seminara said.

The Mahoning Valley has remained an area that is involved with manufacturing. The hope is to educate some of those older people about what manufacturing has become, she said.

“This event is being driven by OH WOW! and our goal of enriching the lives of children through STEM activities,” Seminara said.

However, this week has events designed for teens and adults as well as children, she said.

One of the events designed for teens is the Mahoning Valley Robotics Challenge at Austintown Fitch High School. Andy Yantes said the goal of the event is to provide a fun way for teams to participate during the robotic “off season.” The plan is to have 24 teams from Ohio and Pennsylvania participate.

The goal of these robotics competitions is to give students another area to compete besides sports, Yantes said.

Another site for the event will be at the Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator. This event is geared toward adults and will focus on the science of local food.

Tom Phibbs, who works with the incubator and owns The Lettuce People with his wife, Katie, said those who attend the food event will learn about growing hydroponic lettuce and healthful cooking.

“They learn more than just that eating local is healthy. They learn about the economics and science of eating local,” Phibbs said.

The schedule for the event is mostly completed, and there are events being conducted throughout the area including at Youngstown State University, the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center, the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor and the Butler Institute of American Art, amongst other sites.

The Seven Days of STEM is being supported by a $10,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.

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