COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- Filling STEM positions in Idaho has been tough for employers but now the future of Idaho may land in some talented high school scientists.
The Idaho Science and Engineering Fair is like a bunch of Legos. Each high schooler is a building block, a critical thinker, a collaborator, an inventor and a problem solver. When put all together these high schoolers will be the future of STEM jobs in Idaho.
“A lot of times when people think of science fairs they think of demonstrations with the volcano with baking soda vinegar together...that is not what this is,” one organizer said.
It is not your traditional science fair because Idaho has a huge goal to fill the 7,000 STEM jobs that went unused in 2017. The Idaho STEM Action Center gives students the foundation and curiosity to be tomorrow's workforce.
“About 33 percent of the population neglects to turns off their water when they brush their teeth and every day that wastes about a billion gallons just in the US,” Carter said.
Carter invented a solution with his fully functional automatic home faucet design. Although some may think this is only a school project, this experience is what excited students, like Carter, for a future in STEM.
“If a north Idaho kid is doing a project on computer engineering and there is no one in the area we can help connect them with mentors at places like HP and Micron,” Coordinator for the STEM Action Center.Cripsin Gravatt said.
A mentorship to link both education and industry. The fair grew from only 18 to 80 participants this year.
“If we can get students no interested in STEM jobs and equipped with the skills they need to fill these jobs it's a boom for Idaho and the United States,” Gravatt said.
Eighty-eight percent of Idaho parents believe that their school should invest more in STEM education. This science fair is the building blocks of Idaho's future economy.