STEAMFest Comes to Iowa Central
by Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office
Posted on 11/3/2023
The gym in the Career Education Building on the Iowa Central campus was busy with a variety of activities as area elementary and middle school students explored the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) on November 2.
More than 25 stations were set up around the gym for the Sixth Annual STEAMFest where students could experience everything from how fuel for cars is made from corm at the Iowa Ethanol Trailer to how various birds gather food with the Blank Park Zoo.
In the area of arts, students experimented in watercolor technique with Iowa Central Art Instructor Michael Baird, trying out watercolor pencils, and painting over salt and alcohol to visualize reactions with the paint.
At the Iowa Central Engineering and Design Technology booth, the young attendees were fascinated with the live 3-D printer demonstration and had the opportunity to check out various items the printers had created.
Prairie Lakes AEA brought virtual reality career simulators to the event where different career areas could be explored “hands on” through a pair of virtual reality goggles. Students at STEAMFest worked through a pipe fitting simulation while those standing nearby could see their work on a screen.
“The virtual reality program can simulate 32 different careers,” said Torey Proctor, a technology innovation consultant at Prairie Lakes AEA. “In a full 20-minute simulation they’re getting job assignments, they can read manuals, blueprints, communicate with a boss and co-workers.”
Other activities at the event included bridge building simulations with McClure Engineering, exploring healthcare careers and learning about the effects of smoking and vaping on the respiratory system with Unity Point Health, robotics with the Iowa Invention Scouts, cross flow filtration with CJ BioAmerica, corn wet milling with Cargill, learning about insects and creating bug noisemakers with Webster County Conservation and making chap stick with beeswax with Ag in the Classroom.
The goal of the festival was to promote, inspire and engage youth in STEAM activities and to introduce children and parents to STEAM careers in their local communities. The event was brought to Fort Dodge by Iowa Central Community College, Blanden Memorial Art Museum, the City of Fort Dodge, McClure Engineering and the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
I chose Iowa Central because it provided an extremely good opportunity for me to have a successful path in my chiropractic endeavors. My favorite memory here at Iowa Central was meeting so many people who I know continue to have an impact on my life down the road.