NIU gets its ‘geek’ on at Google street fair in Chicago

NIU’s Pettee Guerrero (right) and Pati Sievert made the TV news during Wednesday’s Google Geek Street Fair in Chicago.
NIU’s Pettee Guerrero (right) and Pati Sievert made the TV news
during Wednesday’s Google Geek Street Fair in Chicago.

NIU made a big impact on participants and attendees during Wednesday’s Google Geek Street Fair in Chicago.

The event – the first of its kind in Chicago – is part of Google’s effort to spur young people to ente the science and technology fields, or, as DNAinfo’s David Matthews wrote, “to stir scientific curiosity in Chicago’s children.”

Students and staff from NIU STEM Outreach and members of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology’s Supermileage Team engaged attendees with interactive displays and demonstrations that ranged from making doodles with a 3D digital printer to playing online games designed by NIU staff and students.

The NIU booths at Daley Plaza were the largest and best-attended of any of the participating groups and organizations, which included the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago Public Library, the City Colleges of Chicago and Google itself.

“We had a fantastic and busy day and never really had a slow minute in the booth,” said Pettee Guerrero, NIU STEM Outreach associate

“We had the 3D printer, and students were able to make jewelry and keychains using 3D printed pieces, which they customized with 3Doodle pens,” Guerrero added. “We also had Mary Baker from SMARTspace@NIU, and she had laptops on which students could play interactive STEM games created by her. Everyone also got a cool STEM Outreach tattoo.”

NIU’s participation at Geek Street also became a hit with the Chicago media, as several news outlets, including CBS2 and NBC5, highlighted the university.

Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report topped its online coverage with a photo of a girl designing 3-D jewelry at the NIU booth. The magazine’s website also posted a photo of Guerrero at work.

Geek Street debuted in New York in 2013.

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