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STEMfest receives $8,000 award from Community Foundation

July 5, 2016

stemfest-dccfNIU’s popular STEMfest – scheduled Saturday, Oct. 8, in the Convocation Center – has received an $8,000 award from the DeKalb County Community Foundation (DCCF).

The award will help ensure that STEMfest’s equipment for hands-on activities is cutting-edge and in working order. With 7,500 people attending STEMfest annually, displays and equipment suffer plenty of wear and tear.

“Recognition from the DCCF is so gratifying,” says Pati Sievert, STEM Outreach director.

“This award will help us make STEMfest better than ever by allowing us to purchase new lasers, buy more large-scale demonstrations and build a larger version of a favorite exhibit: the duck-in kaleidoscope,” Sievert adds. “Our current model is scaled for preschoolers and elementary school students. The new one will be able to accommodate most adults.”

The award’s impact will be felt far beyond the day of STEMfest: all tools purchased will also see use in STEM summer camps and in STEM Outreach’s traveling Exploration Lab.

The award check was presented to NIU STEM Outreach by Mark Mannebach of DCCF.

“As a former teacher in the Sycamore schools, I was already familiar with STEMfest’s creative, interesting offerings for students of all grade levels,” Mannebach says. “The staff involved do a great job making STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) engaging and fun for everyone.”

stemfest-2More STEMfest details will be announced later in the summer.

Organizations and businesses with an interest in encouraging future STEM professionals or increasing STEM literacy can now register as STEMfest exhibitors.

Student groups, non-profits and businesses are all welcome to create STEM-themed booths that entice passersby into hands-on experimentation through attention-grabbing, participatory exhibits. Early-bird discounts are available for exhibitors.

“STEMfest can only happen with community support from our hundreds of volunteers and exhibitors to the companies and organizations – like DCCF – that support us financially,” Sievert says.

DCCF’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in DeKalb County by building, managing and distributing philanthropic resources.