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Students: STEMfest needs you Oct. 23

August 25, 2010

STEMfestStudent volunteers are needed to help host STEMfest, NIU’s first science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) festival, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Convocation Center.

More than 5,000 people of all ages are expected to explore hands-on activities for children, presentations for all ages and mind-blowing exhibits.

“We need hundreds of students to help to make STEMfest a success,” said Patricia Sievert, STEM Outreach coordinator and the organizer of the festival. “Over the past five years, NIU students have guided thousands of visitors at smaller events such as Spooky Science Saturday and Haunted Physics Lab. This year, we are scaling up, big-time, so more students are essential.”

STEMfestStudent organizations are invited to host interactive displays for children, to showcase team projects and to supervise “make and take” STEM activities. Mini-grants will be available to assist organizations in purchasing supplies for STEMfest. Students may also organize competitions such as bridge building for elementary, middle school and high school students.

STEMfest offers many possibilities for student involvement.

How about assisting STEM celebrities such as NIU’s storm-chaser team? Dressing as Albert Einstein or another famous personality from STEM history and mingling with the crowd? Making a short presentation of your STEM research on the STEMfest stage? Or volunteering for the STEMfest staff of photographers, greeters or docents, or set-up and tear-down muscle?

STEMfestStudents will join NIU faculty, STEM educators and professionals from STEM industries, museums and professional societies across the area to share with the public the excitement and importance of the STEM in our lives. STEM-related departments in five colleges will participate.

STEMfest is an expansion of NIU STEM Outreach’s highly successful Spooky Science Saturday, which includes the Haunted Physics Labs and Creepy Chemistry. In the past, these events drew more than 1,700 participants to the NIU science labs in a single afternoon. Adults and young children alike have a great time and learn science in a fun, interactive way. Overflow crowds at Spooky Science Saturday justified the move to the Convo Center. More than 100 hands-on Spooky Science displays will be available at STEMfest.

STEMfest is part of the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival to be held on the Mall in Washington, D.C., and at locations around the nation Oct. 23. The NIU festival also is modeled after successful science festivals in Europe and the San Diego Science Festival. 

Learn more about roles for student volunteers and find ideas for STEMfest activities at

Ready to sign up? Contact Sievert at [email protected] or call (815) 753-1201.