Kids explore STEM at KIDposium

Rhonda Webb, the KIDposium event leader, kicked off the day by raffling off items to attendees. The event took place on Saturday, Oct. 19. Vanguard Photo | Matt Hintz

The fourth KIDposium brought together elementary and middle school students to engage in STEM activities.

The KIDposium took place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in Groening Commons.

KIDposium has grown from its early stages when the program launched at Thompson Middle School in 2016 and brought students from all around the community together to learn about STEM.

Students in attendance were exposed to the SVSU Mobile Research Lab as well as both the chemistry and math clubs.

KIDposium host Rhonda Webb oversaw the event and shared her thoughts on the importance of STEM programs.

“The reason that STEM is important for younger students is that they need the pluses that come with learning about science, technology, engineering and math,” she said. “Seeing that those are hard skills, those skills can still be applicable in various parts of their lives.”

Webb believes that students need to be exposed to STEM education to obtain the skills necessary to do well in the 21st century.

“We have to make sure that the kids here in the United States are learning enough about … science, technology, engineering and math so that they can compete with various nations when it comes to education and being able to apply those skills,” she said.

Webb said there is STEM in nearly all jobs, even if it is not apparent.

“I was a licensed cosmetologist for 25 years,” she said. “During that time, to my knowledge, I didn’t even understand that I was incorporating the STEM components in my job, even as a hairstylist and a makeup artist.”

Webb wants both kids and adults to realize that STEM is probably already a part of their lives, whether or not they know it yet.

“STEM is not just limited to coding or robotics, but it’s a fundamental component that we really use throughout our lives regardless of the industry that we’re in,” she said.

Webb’s goal in running the KIDposium is to give students an active and involved experience where they learn the importance of STEM through creativity and how it can apply to their lives.

“They don’t come here, sit in a classroom, and hear a lecture,” she said. “They’re in an interactive, creative and innovative environment where they can do something a little bit different from what they’re accustomed to.”

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