DEKALB — Northern Illinois University’s STEM Fest started more than a decade ago as a festival to celebrate innovations in science, technology, engineering and math.
The free annual event has now become a family tradition that welcomes visitors of all ages to hear talks from experts, view spectacular science demo shows and engage in hundreds of different interactive learning activities.
The NIU STEM Fest team is thrilled to bring the event back in person – now at a new location in the center of NIU’s DeKalb campus. STEM Fest will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the NIU Holmes Student Center, Founders Memorial Library, MLK Commons and other nearby buildings. STEM Fest is free and open to the public. Learn more at go.niu.edu/STEMFest.
“I’m excited that we’re coming back in person, and that we’re bringing STEM Fest to the center of campus,” Kristin Brynteson, director of NIU STEAM, which organizes STEM Fest, said. “This gives people a chance to explore campus, and the variety of venues gives us an opportunity to try some new formats and activities, including workshops in our STEAM classroom in Swen Parson Hall, big stage productions in the Holmes Student Center auditorium, and an exploration of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Founders Memorial Library innovation space.”
Visitors will also have the chance to explore campus on a tour and with the new Huskie Go app – a scavenger hunt game that uses augmented reality technology to help players learn about NIU’s rich 125-year history.
When NIU educators began STEM Fest more than a decade ago, they took a leap of faith, believing that the interactive learning activities would excite and engage community members and encourage more young people to pursue STEM fields. The event grew to welcome thousands of visitors each year, with people of all ages truly engaged in the action, faculty animatedly explaining their research, and NIU students guiding kids through the activities and sharing their passion for STEM topics.
This year, visitors will get to experience the most popular activities from past years as well as fun new exhibits. They’ll have the chance to program robots, build with blocks, test out virtual reality technology, witness a weather balloon launch with real-time data displays and explore the Haunted Physics Lab. They’ll also get a chance to chat with experts in physics, engineering, chemistry, meteorology, nursing and many other fields to find their spark of inspiration.