STEAM Fest exposes kids to new careers


Anna Feng

Fernando Moreno Jr. plays with electric currents at a booth.

Anna Feng, Managing Editor

From 11 a.m.–3 p.m., the Redwood City Courthouse Square was packed with booths featuring everything from art to science camps to robotics.

This year’s Redwood City Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) Fest was hosted by the Redwood City Library Foundation (RCLF) on April 28, 2018. According to its website, the event aims to “inspire San Mateo County’s diverse youth to see themselves as scientists, artists, creators, and inventors.”

For some attendees, the festival is a way to expand their children’s options for a career. Fernando Moreno and his son, Fernando Moreno Jr., found the festival through the signs advertising it around the block.

“I think [the STEAM Fest] is going to open up [my son’s] mind to different things and help him explore,” Moreno said. “I’d rather have him out here instead of on the phone all day.”

The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Redwood City Public Library, which worked together with the RCLF to make the STEAM Fest possible. According to volunteer and board member Nogah Schmeltzer, the purpose of the sponsorship is to take part in the festival to help kids grow and to promote their bookstore.

The Friends of the Redwood City Public Library’s booth featured seeds and biodegradable cups.

Schmeltzer said, “We have three kinds of seeds: flowers, vegetables, and herbs. The kids can take it home and grow it in the cup or even just put it straight into the soil. There’s this aspect of seeing nature work, and then you can eat your fruits. I think our activity with planting seeds and seeing them grow really represents what this is about.”

In fact, many of the stands and booths there featured STEAM-related activities such as discussions of electricity using Play-Doh and centrifugal art. These topics can expose children to new ideas.

“Take for example the booth with the library — their activity is so cool. They’re using physical powers to make art,” said Schmeltzer. “I’m going to guess that at least half the kids who came here never saw it before and now their imagination is that much bigger. They might use it in the future for something else.”

Ultimately, the true highlight of the STEAM Fest is the exposure of children to science, art, and technology. This exposure can spark an interest in the sciences during high school.

Biology and chemistry teacher Michal Nozik said, “One can pursue a career in STEAM by taking classes in areas such as science and computer science, going to lectures, and having access to technology in school. You can take more challenging classes, then go to college and learn more about those subjects.”