STEM Fair and Art Expo allows students to share their interests with others


Nihal Karim

Elizabeth Kravtchenko shows her research project regarding the CA State Science Fair.

Nihal Karim, Staff Writer

As science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers continue to grow, more and more students begin to show interest in these fields.

Every year, the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) hosts a STEM Fair for students in fifth through 12th grade. For this year’s STEM Fair, the SMCOE decided to integrate arts to the program and add an Arts Expo – which included both visual and performing arts.

The STEM Fair and Arts Expo is a competition, with judges making decisions depending on grade levels.

“We have a larger space this year, which allows us to have more projects displayed,” said Piotr Garbaczonek, an intern at SMCOE.

In addition to the art projects, many students at the fair conducted research in STEM related fields.

“I noticed that upperclassmen tend to win more gold medals than lowerclassmen on the CA State Science Fair, so I conducted my research on whether or not the judges were biased,” said Elizabeth Kravtchenko, one of the competitors at the fair.

According to the Economics and Statistics Administration, STEM careers are suspected to grow 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared to 9.8 per cent for non-STEM fields.

“I think that STEM fairs were made to expose kids and students to STEM fields,” Kravtchenko said.

Many people at the fair showed interest in STEM topics and thought that STEM fairs such as this one were beneficial to others.

“Events like this help educate people and give them more perspective,” Garbaczonek said. “This can also give kids more ideas that they can use in the future.”

In addition to that, many students who participated in the fair did so due to their interests in the topic they chose, and not in order to compete.

“The topic I chose was artificial intelligence and deep learning,” said Jack Liu, one of the competitors. “I mainly chose to do research on this topic because I really enjoy it.”

Many of the parents walking around thought that STEM Fairs like this were helpful for their kids.

“I think that STEM Fairs help unathletic kids because they let them show their interests in non-sport competitions,” said Cathy Molnar, one of the parents at the fair. “I also think that STEM Fairs can be effective because they help kids become interested in science.”

The SMCOE STEM Fair lets students further explore their passion for sciences.