Recently, the Miami-Dade STEM Expo brought together Miami-Dade County’s most creative, intelligent, and resourceful students to compete and demonstrate their proficiency in STEM activities. The event took place at Miami Dade College, North Campus. The STEM Expo showcased the fruits of the students’ hard work and provided a learning experience on the responsibility of communicating STEM research and engineering designs to the community. Special guests were Mary Katherine Fechtel, Miss Florida 2015 and Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, astrophysicist and star of Science Channel’s most watched series Outrageous Acts of Science. We had a record attendance of over 12,000 people present at this year’s event.

12645067_10153292004666516_9069964341011458435_nLast year special guest Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States, delivered the keynote which was very significant because he is a Valedictorian of Miami Palmetto Senior High School Class of 1994. He spoke to the students about his experiences as a student and the wealth of opportunities and careers in STEM. Superintendent Carvalho and Dr. Murthy met privately before the event to discuss important issues including student health immunizations and health clinics.

The event was a real success and highlighted the hard work of students and teachers and in addition provided information to the community about research design in STEM and engineering. The fair helped the students to explore new and original careers.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) aspires to engage and prepare all students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM), however, this is only possible if the students continue their postsecondary studies and get interested in STEAM fields. M-DCPS endorse many initiatives that support the program and which can be implemented in the curriculum.

The STEAM curriculum foresee benefiting from the experience and financing of the M-DCPS’ Department of 12651152_10153292004876516_7751177178720867342_nCareer and Technical Education (CTE) to increment student achievement in the STEAM program and provide them the skills they need to succeed in college and careers. The importance of STEM education can be seen in the growing number of STEM-related occupations in the United States and abroad. In fact, in the U.S., 80 percent of the fastest growing jobs depend on a mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills.

Interest in STEM careers among high school students has lagged far behind the corresponding growth in STEM professions. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students are interested in STEM-related careers; while 28 percent of high school freshmen declare an interest in a STEM-centered field, more than half of these students will lose interest by the time they graduate. The numbers are even more distressing when we look at the post-secondary study of STEM fields by ethnic breakdown. According to the Federal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Five-Year Strategic Plan, just 2.2 percent of Hispanics and Latinos, 2.7 percent of African Americans, and 3.3 percent of Native Americans and Alaska Natives have earned a first university degree in the natural sciences or engineering by age 24. These figures are disturbing and point to a trend that must be reversed.

M-DCPS supports a number of STEM initiatives to help bolster interest among students and encourage their pursuit of post-secondary studies and careers in STEM. From district-wide participation in the Hour of Code to partnerships with organizations like Florida Power & Light and Discovery Education that offer STEM activities for teachers and students, M-DCPS is at the forefront of broadening student participation in STEM activities. The Expo is only one of those events which seek to find and increase interest in those careers among our students.

Several weeks after the Expo event, M-DCPS honored the fair most outstanding students. Superintendent Carvalho joined Marie Izquierdo, Chief Academic Officer, Office of Academics and Transformation to present the awards in a ceremony that took place at Miami Dade College, North Campus.

The participants enjoyed this unparalleled event that offered activities for all. At the end of the day, many of the participating students received awards for their work. We have begun the preparations for next year’s event, which historically have always been a success.

For more information about this event click here