News / Science & Technology

Science, Technology Festival in Nation's Capital Inspires Students

Science, Technology Festival in Nation's Capital Inspires Studentsi
X
George Putic
April 28, 2014 8:58 PM
For one of the world's most technologically advanced nations, the United States sorely lacks scientists and engineers. The USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., is one of the initiatives trying to change that. VOA’s George Putic stopped by the only national event aimed at inspiring students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
George Putic
For one of the world's most technologically advanced nations, the United States sorely lacks scientists and engineers. The USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., is one of the initiatives trying to change that. It's the only national event aimed at inspiring students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Judging by the number of students exploring the high technology exhibits and stage performances at Washington’s Convention Center, the interest in science and engineering is high. But according to a survey of more than a million American students, slightly more than 10 percent of high school graduates say they are interested in a career in those fields.

One of the co-founders of the USA Science and Engineering Festival, Larry Bock, said societies get what they celebrate. “We celebrate athletes, pop stars, professional actresses and actors, and we generate a lot of wannabes [people who "want to be" something], but we don’t celebrate scientists and engineers.”

Bock helped organize the first, now annual, science festival in San Diego, California, in 2009. Its success was quickly recognized by the technology industry, which struggles to find enough qualified scientists and engineers.

With Lockheed-Martin's Ray O. Johnson, Bock launched a national festival in 2010.

Johnson said translating science, technology, engineering and math - collectively known as STEM - into a fun activity is bound to have a positive effect. “I am absolutely confident, without a shadow of a doubt, that in 10 years, in 20 years, they will be adults then, they would have entered into the STEM field, and they’ll look back on this event and they’ll say that’s why I did this.”

Youngsters at the festival were exposed to a lot of hands-on experience, from flight simulators and robotic printers to playing with prostheses.

Many of them jumped the psychological barrier between passive listening and active exploration, joining military veteran and quadruple amputee Travis Mills on stage, as he showed off his mechanical arm.

Mills said there are a lot of wounded veterans who could help kids learn about the science and technology incorporated into their artificial limbs.

“Kids are going to stare and wonder so why not open their eyes to it and let them know how great the science is out there,” he said.

Some students already have experienced the thrill of creating new things. High school senior Andrea Li was one of the teen inventors here, talking about her work. She said festivals like this have enormous potential. “I think it’s really exciting and that’s how you get more people interested,” she said.

Organizers say they hope the success of this event will inspire more regional festivals, to help ease the nation-wide shortage of scientists and engineers.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs