County middle school students learned about careers and academic programs in science, technology and engineering, participated in hands-on science activities and even got to drive robots at the annual Journeys in Engineering, Technology and Science program at the Universities at Shady Grove on Saturday.
Organized by the Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery County Public Schools, the free, day-long program attracted nearly 400 middle school students to stoke their interest in so-called STEM careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Representatives from NASA, , the and Lockheed Martin gave presentations about careers in fields such as bioscience and medicine, computer science, engineering and environmental science. The presentations covered topics including cybersecurity, robotic pharmacies, the inner workings of a personal computer and nanotechnology.
Among the information provided to students, was the salary range for STEM careers, from criminologists and health care scientists with annual salaries of more than $50,000, to salary forecasts of more than $100,000 per year for nuclear scientists, computer scientists and physics professionals.
At the end of the day, the STEM Pathways EXPO offered students hands-on displays and information about engineering, technology and science career programs offered at Montgomery County high schools and colleges. The STEM Academy at , , several institutions from the University System of Maryland and the National Museum of Health and Medicine were represented.
“This is a great opportunity for students to get a taste of what is out there in the fields of math and science,” said Norma Winfel, college recruiter for Montgomery College, who spoke with students at one of the many booths.
Several students from Montgomery Village Middle School participated in the on the hands-on, “Make a Necklace Out of Your Own DNA!” presentation lead by Natalie Dussourd, coordinator of education and outreach for Towson University. Lisa Nyamekye and Juanita Kwarteng, both eight-graders, were at JETS because of their interest in careers as pharmacists.
Sam Alborta of in Rockville enjoyed JETS and the EXPO. He “came to see science stuff and learn about science. The best part was driving the robot,” he said.
Other favorites included a strobe demonstration and the explosions during the chemistry demonstrations.
For more information, visit the JETS website and follow the links be included on the mailing list for additional information and opportunities.