First STEM-H Expo fair comes to FCPS

The STEM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Health) Expo Fair, which highlights STEM-H courses and job opportunities, will be held on February 22, from 9am to 2pm at Chantilly High School. This is the first STEM-H fair in the district, hosted by Chantilly, Edison, Fairfax, Falls Church, Marshall, and West Potomac Academies.

“The focus of the fair is to show students opportunities in STEM and health sciences. It is showcasing academies and different career opportunities for students in those fields,” Career Experience Specialist Bonnie Wannett said.

The main point of the expo will be aimed towards helping students interested in STEM-H.  Major businesses from the area will be there, such as Northrop Grumman, Exxon Mobile, Society of American Military Engineers, and Wegman’s pharmacies, to name a few.  These businesses will hold breakout sessions, exhibits and demonstrations, and hold discussions about how STEM-H is important to their organization.

Other topics, such as extracurriculars that high school students can participate in and financial aid options, will be discussed later in the afternoon.

The expo will help students learn what classes to take based on their interests, and what kind of jobs are available based on those interests. STEM-H fields are expanding, and as such STEM-H classes are broadening, with ever more importance being placed on STEM-H careers and their benefits to businesses and communities.

While there is a STEM engineering class offered at the school, there are more advanced and diverse classes available elsewhere, such as at Chantilly Academy.

Although STEM-H fields are notoriously known to be male-oriented, there is a special outreach program for girls interested in STEM-H careers called the GE2 program, which provides mentors, field trips and other outside experiences for girls.

“Unfortunately some girls have the perception that these programs aren’t for them, but they are,” Chantilly Academy Administrator Virginia Muller said. “We have a lot of grand opportunities and businesses with extra funding to provide opportunities specifically for girls.”

At this STEM-H Expo Fair, the focal point will be the discussions about future career possibilities, elaboration on admissions into various colleges, classes that best fit certain students, and tips about differing STEM-H programs. Representatives from several organizations, businesses, and schools that specialize in STEM-H will be endorsing their programs, eager to talk to students.

“Businesses need this in the workforce. They need people that are creative, who also understand the math and science component,” said Muller. “It’s what’s going to drive our society into the future and move us forward. It is an initiative that is being pushed in schools of all ages.”