BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Stem Action Center celebrated the 5th year of its STEM Matters event at the Idaho Capitol Wednesday.
Hundreds of kids turned out for the big event that took over three floors of the rotunda and outside.
The event gave kids the opportunity to show off their STEM skills and engage with those working in the field.
The goal is to show students that math and science are fun.
They came from a lot of local schools, and some travelled from as far away as Idaho City.
Dr. Angela Hemingway is the executive director of the Idaho Stem Action Center. She says it's been fun to watch the growth of STEM opportunities and help create a pipeline to fill them.
"STEM jobs in Idaho are growing very rapidly, about 4.4 percent just last year, compared to 2.8 percent for non-STEM jobs," Hemingway said. "We're anticipating 19,000 new STEM jobs in Idaho by 2026, in just six short years. So making sure we have a pipeline of individuals coming through that are interested in STEM, aware of their opportunities, and ready to take on those careers is critically important."
Among the professionals on hand at the STEM Matters event were staff from the World Center for Birds of Prey and the military.
Virtual reality was a big hit for students, too. They could visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho or go to Mars and rove around the planet.
The celebration aims to engage Idaho youth so they know about the exciting STEM opportunities, but there were also a lot of the adults who came out to enjoy the event.