CAMBRIDGE – Career opportunities are available in Dorchester County for students interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). That was the message emphasized Saturday at Cannery Way, when volunteers from local schools, companies and other organizations took part in the Maryland STEM Festival.
The month-long, statewide promotion takes place every fall. Across Maryland, hundreds of events are being held to encourage participation in STEM courses in schools.
“The mission of the Festival is to encourage all students regardless of background and experience to take a greater interest in STEM with the hope they will pursue a STEM related/focused career,” a statement on marylandstemfestival.org says. “The MSF works for an entire year recruiting as many organizations as it can to participate in the Festival, such as libraries, museums, public and private schools, colleges, universities, government agencies and private companies.”
The event Saturday was sponsored by the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, with support from groups including Partnership for Learning, Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Blue Oyster Environmental, United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, the YMCA, Dorchester Library, and Dorchester County Public Schools.
Organizers believe that getting young students interested in reading and STEM subjects as early as possible will yield benefits in the future.
“The Festival highlights the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in this state,” the website says. “Through hands-on activities, talks, lab tours, nature experiences, expos, exhibits and performances, the Festival engages a wide range of public audiences while inspiring future generations.”
“Anything that’s going to improve the workforce, we have to do,” President of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce Bill Christopher said. “It starts at the beginning.”
Chris Wheedleton of Partnership for Learning said his organization is working to pull together available resources and groups to maximize their effectiveness, while determining what’s missing from the local scene so needs can be met.
“Having Dorchester County Public Schools here is important,” he said, as the various organizations seek ways to cooperate.
DCPS Director of Student Services Kirk Howie and Dorchester Career and Technology Center Principal Anna Howie were present to share information about STEM courses at the county’s public schools and their application to the local economy. “Any time you can connect the community … that’s always wonderful,” Mr. Howie said.
The 2021 festival took place from Oct. 16 through Nov. 14.