Meeting STEM Students Where They’re At

 

 

For the second year in a row, the Mile High City was the perfect location for a NACAC STEM College and Career Fair

“The energy level in Denver was through the roof,” said Pia Brown, director of NACAC’s College Fairs Program. “Students had obviously gotten the message—this was the place to be to search for STEM programs, connect with college and industry reps, and find their best college fit.”

In fact, more than 1,000 high school students came to the Colorado School of Mines for the Denver STEM Fair to meet face-to-face with college and industry representatives from approximately 110 organizations.

“This is an opportunity for students to talk about their interests and find out how they can continue to explore those areas in college and later as a STEM professional,” said Jonathan Hoster of Syracuse University (NY). “The colleges are excited to talk about the awesome opportunities we have on our campuses. There’s great connections to be made that really can’t be made in any other venue.”

Free and open to the public, the fairs are designed as engaging educational events where students and families can get their questions answered about majors, degree programs, campus visits, internships, scholarships, financial aid, career paths, and much more.

An especially popular feature of STEM College and Career Fairs are the “STEMinars.” These free student workshops were standing room only in Denver and cover topics such as how to shine in the college application process, the path to a career in medicine, how to fund your STEM education, resources for exploring STEM majors, and what it’s like to be a female STEM student.

“The STEM fairs have been some of the most rewarding events I have attended as an admission professional,” said Chris Penberthy of Saint Louis University (MO). “The quality and talent level of the students in attendance are second to none.”

Not only are the students high achieving, they come from diverse backgrounds. Almost half of the students who attended the Denver fair identified as female and 38 percent identified as non-white (or chose not to answer). In addition, approximately 47 percent who attended were high school juniors or sophomores and 52 percent were seniors.

“We’re able to dive deep with each student and parent we meet because they attend the STEM Fairs with knowledge and purpose,” said Edward Kim, vice president of C2 Education (GA). “We feel incredibly fortunate to have these rich conversations with such diverse, competitive, and intelligent students.”

The success of the fairs is ensured by NACAC’s close partnerships within each community. In Denver, for example, the STEM fair received amazing support from the local committee, chaired by Kim Medina, director of admissions at Colorado School of Mines, CSM staff, and student volunteers.

NACAC currently offers nine STEM College and Career Fairs each year, with a goal of adding more in the future. STEM fairs are the newest program from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), which has been offering college fairs for more than 40 years.

Exhibitor registrations and sponsorships are currently available for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 season. Visit nacacfairs.org/stem for more information.