STEAM Fair returning to Truckee for fourth year | SierraSun.com

STEAM Fair returning to Truckee for fourth year

Barbara Wilkinson
Special to the Sun

Dr. Keith Tatsukawa from the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research of Tahoe Forest Health System brings a real brain for students to view up close and personal.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Innovation has always led the way in our country as a means to the future. The challenge now is how we prepare our children to be successful, creative and innovative in a world that is rapidly changing.

Many of tomorrow's careers do not exist today. Innovation is tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — the STEM subjects.

Art and Design are used to combine these elements and to transform our economy in the 21st century, just as science and technology did in the last century.

STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals.

STEAM exposes students to content knowledge, critical thinking and innovation while developing students' interests and skills for future success.

STEAM is the largest growing career field in the country right now and typically one of the highest paid.

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The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and the Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation are firm believers in the concept of STEAM for the students of our District.

"Research, including my own doctoral research has shown the importance of education and awareness of STEAM majors and careers to younger students," said TTUSD Superintendent Rob Leri. "The STEAM Fair is aligned perfectly with the vision and beliefs of the school district and is a great entree to new and existing pathways at our comprehensive high schools in engineering, bio-medical, and cross curricular offerings."

One means to this end is the new Project Lead the Way curriculum being introduced within TTUSD.

At Truckee High School, students are offered an Engineering course for the first time. This is a high level course focusing on the principles of engineering so students can assess whether it is a career path of possible interest for them.

Foundations of mechanical and electrical engineering will be taught, as well as concepts related to fields such as solar power and hydrogen fueled vehicles.

As Math, Science and Engineering teacher, Jody Burrill, explains, "This class gives the kids the chance to answer the question I often ask myself, 'Should I have gone into engineering?"

Burrill explained, while she excelled at math, she didn't really understand what the field of engineering held for her in terms of possible careers.

TTUSD students will now better understand the field and the career options within it thanks to the engineering course offered.

For the fourth year, the STEAM Fair is being offered through a collaborative effort with the school district and a number of partner organizations.

The Rotary Club of Truckee is the lead organization and receives additional funding assistance from the Excellence in Education Foundation, Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner and Truckee Optimist Club.

Since students who tend to enter STEAM fields are often making important decisions about class selection, electives, and other activities as early as middle school, the fair is open to all students from third grade through high school. Elementary school age children must be accompanied by an adult.

The STEAM Fair will be held at Truckee High School on Nov. 6 from 6-7:30 p.m. Over 40 local and regional career field experts will have interactive booths.

Attendees will have the opportunity to talk with professionals including those in the medical field and pilots with flight simulators.

Transportation is provided from the lakeside schools to the fair. To secure bus transportation, contact North Tahoe High School 581-7000 or visit http://www.nths.ttusd.org.

Barbara Wilkinson is an Excellence in Education board member. Visit exined.org to learn more.