NOVA hosted the second annual Loudoun County STEM Day at NOVA’s Loudoun Campus on October 1. The goal of the event is to encourage children – particularly girls – to learn about and get involved in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as STEAM, which includes the arts. The event helps to capture their interest and draw children to careers in these in-demand fields that will only become more crucial to the Northern Virginia region in coming years.
Despite the rainy weather, 1,600 participants, particularly children K through 12, had the opportunity to learn basic coding, drive “Star Wars” spheres using a mini tablet, and take computerized psychological tests and blind-folded tests of taste and touch sensitivity. Attendees were also able to operate large and small robots, explore Mars and participate in virtual reality simulations and even in karaoke in NOVA’s state-of-the-art music recording studio, all in the new Robert G. Templin, Jr. Higher Education Center.
The Waddell Building had the engaging sounds of “The GIS of Pokemon Go!” and “The Science of Music.” The Loudoun Science Building hosted “The Science in Your Backyard and the Amazing Human Body” and “Pirhana Plants and Insect Armageddon” among other fascinating hands-on demonstrations.
“It has been obvious for a long time that the STEM fields are of escalating value in the Northern Virginia region and in the global economy,” said Loudoun Provost Julie Leidig. “Events like the Loudoun County STEM Day help children to forge a fascination with these critical activities and hopefully will help propel them into these fields. And NOVA is a great place to get that start with so many associate degrees offered in information technology, science, healthcare, math and many other areas to engage those who are both creative as well as highly technical.”
This annual event is a collaborative effort between NOVA, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun County Public Schools and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions. In addition, special recognition goes to the NOVA organizers and volunteers, beginning with Enrollment Management Director Laura Siko and the planning committee Liz Coffey (SySTEMic Solutions), Evening Coordinator Andrew Furr and Campus and Community Relations Specialist Tatyana Schum.