NOVA’s Loudoun Campus hosted its fourth annual STEM Day Loudoun County on September 30, welcoming 710 participants — 383 children and 327 adults. Parents from throughout the region brought eager children of all ages to the Campus to participate in free, hands-on activities that included a variety of robotics, coding and gaming activities; demonstrations of 3-D printers and other technological devices, lab experiments such as making slime and artificial snow.
The Campus’ recording studio was open for tours and the opportunity to see how all the soundboards and intricate electronics work. The Science Building was also firing on all cylinders with the Biology Lab open for pot-your-own-plant, geology experiments and an introduction to Chesapeake Bay creatures. The Chemistry Lab was staffed with NOVA faculty and students, as well as students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., who assisted young children in a variety of experiments.
“The chance for kids to participate in hands-on activities is what helps lock in their interest,” said Loudoun Provost Julie Leidig. “We are thrilled to host this great event and look forward to seeing many of these kids back at NOVA in the future to pursue their degrees in the STEM fields that are so critical to our region.”
STEM Day Loudoun County is an important event for this region. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has said he wants Virginia to be the cyber capital of the world. It is also said that as much as 70 percent of all internet traffic flows through Loudoun County data centers and Loudoun is home to more than 75 data centers and more than 3,000 technology companies are headquartered there. The children in the Northern Virginia region are uniquely positioned to train and step into the many STEM jobs in fields that will continue to grow and broaden in the coming years.
The event was co-sponsored by the Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation, Oath, 3D Herndon, the Congressional App challenge, Loudoun County Public Schools and, of course, NOVA SySTEMic. NOVA SySTEMic is a STEM outreach program designed to create interest in science, technology engineering and math fields starting from early elementary school and extending through high school, with the hope of inspiring more students to enter the STEM workforce pipeline. Other participants were Microsoft, Mason Game & Technology Academy and Children’s Science Center.
Additional details about the event can be found at www.LoCoSTEMDay.com.