Hundreds gathered at Housatonic Community College’s 2nd annual STEAMFest, a two-day event to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics on Wednesday, November 7 and Thursday, November 8. Held on the HCC campus, the event nurtured academic passions and provided extraordinary opportunities for engagement and exchange between STEAM professionals, students, educators and the community.
HCC students displayed their exciting research findings, and attendees considered possibilities for their future while enjoying impactful interactions with real-world STEAM professionals and interactive demonstrations. In addition to the over 60 associate degree and certificate options in STEAM disciplines at HCC on display, a wide array of colleges and universities also exhibited their own programs at a STEAM College Fair.
Keynote speaker Dr. Marie Robert, an internationally renowned surgical pathologist and professor of pathology and medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, drew a standing-room-only crowd. Robert discussed pathology within the intestinal track, but also life lessons, such as the importance of persevering in the face of challenges and work-life balance, setting a tone for the event.
“The keynote speaker is so driven and made sacrifices to be in a predominately male field,” said Jocelyn Rivera a 2nd year HCC student majoring in Radiology. “She is successful and balances home life with work life; I always believed that I could do both, a notion that gets little support at home. Dr. Robert proved to me that it can be done.”
A ‘STEM on Wheels’ bus, created through a partnership with the University of Bridgeport and the Discovery Museum, offered attendees a mobile lab featuring medical simulations 3-D printing, a mobility device for the visually impaired and Dash robots.
Catherine Sneed, head of employee communications and community relations for corporate sponsor Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, discussed the importance of STEAM and employment opportunities available in the field. Earlier this year, the firm contributed $25,000 to launch a STEAM Center of Excellence at HCC and to support the College’s ongoing STEAM initiatives.
“These students are our future, and our future is in very good hands,” said Dr. Paul Broadie, President of Housatonic Community College. “Our annual STEAMFest event is the ideal place to demonstrate the intelligence coming out of this community college and the many opportunities available in STEAM careers.”
“STEAMFest was a heartfelt event where students felt welcomed, valued and empowered to not only join a STEAM profession for themselves, but to realize that simple yet powerful fact: it takes grit to accomplish collegiate and career goals. This type of hard work is something that excludes nobody,” said Rachel Cain, STEAM Initiatives Coordinator for HCC.
STEAMFest 2018 was generously supported by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Other STEAM initiatives and programs at HCC are funded by donor advised funds at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company; Pitney Bowes Foundation; Gene Haas Foundation and the Wells Fargo Foundation.