ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine in Orono held Maine's largest annual 'STEM' Expo on Saturday, March 7th.
The event has been going strong for 20 years, attracting more than 1,000 guests every year.
The goal is to get kids excited about STEM careers and ultimately fill 'STEM' job opportunities in Maine. Currently, there is a gap from local Mainers to fill these positions, which is forcing companies to hire workers from other states.
"That's why we are working hard to expand the engineering education in the state of Maine, so we can answer to the demand," said Dr. Mohamad Musavi, the Associate Dean of Engineering at the University of Maine.
"Engaging them, showing them what they can do and making them excited about engineering and STEM," is what manager of Distribution Planning at RLC Engineers Brian Conroy says the Expo is all about.
The expo was filled with hands-on activities for the students.
"It's important to get them aware. I think the kids who like Math and Science to see what they can do with it, how they can apply it and how much fun it can be to apply science. I think that's important for the next generation of technology, and innovation, and engineering in our state," said Conroy.
Many Maine Companies were featured in the Expo. Central Maine Power had an electricity exhibit to teach students about the importance of being safe when they're near electricity poles. They also taught older kids about the various jobs available at CMP.
"We use a lot of engineers in putting together our system. We have a massive system and it's growing all the time, trying to bring power for the people that need it and for the businesses that are here," says CMP Engineer Michael Shutts.
This year, there were exhibits on robotics, 3-D printing, slime making, how to build your own floating boats, welding, woodworking, physics demonstrations, virtual reality, and the world's largest 3D printed boat.