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Maryland STEM Festival

Chesapeake Family Life is a huge supporter of all things STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). We do our best to help Marylanders of all ages become lifelong STEAMers. Lucky for us, many of our state’s most influential leaders do too.

Take, for example, the many folks who have helped create and grow the Maryland STEM Festival, a month-long celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through diverse, STEM-focused events held throughout Maryland.

Created in 2014 by a committee that included representatives of Senator Ben Cardin, WBAL-TV, the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, USRA STEMaction, the MD Department of Education, Association of Public Library Administrators, and Out of School Time Network (MOST), the inaugural Festival offered an impressive 330 events in November 2015. By the time this year’s festival ends on November 11, the 2019 festival will have included a whopping 700-plus events, the vast majority of which are free and open to the public.

The very timely theme of this year’s Festival, “Space and Flight” (chosen to honor both the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the 60th anniversary of the opening of Goddard Space Flight Center), it should come as no surprise that their quality matches their quantity.

“The Festival’s overarching mission is to excite and engage students and families to take a greater interest in STEM, so we always look for the WOW factor when thinking about each year’s theme,” says Phil Rogofsky, founder and Executive Director of Maryland STEM Festival. “Few things generate as much interest and excitement as space and flight, so it was a no-brainer to make it our theme and offer as many exceptional events as possible.”

Rogofsky, who happens to have first become interested in science during the Apollo 11 mission, and his team certainly met this goal, with some of this year’s most “WOW”-inducing events including: 

  • A first-of-its-kind (both in Maryland and nationwide) STEM Parade, which took place on October 19th at Bowie State University and included hundreds of participants demonstrating their affection for STEM, plus an Air Force helicopter flyover to boot!
  • A plethora of pumpkin-related activities throughout October, from building a mini pumpkin candy catapult at Chesapeake City Branch Library to Carroll County robotics teams’ pumpkin smash days.
    • The Blue Collar STEM Conference on Nov. 9, where businesses such as Siemens and Toyota will promote both youth and adult awareness of well-paying, high-demand, STEM-related jobs that don’t require the traditional four-year college track.
    • 215 individual happenings in November, all listed and searchable by date, county, target age group, and STEM category at MarylandSTEMFestival.org/events
    • The 2019 Stem Closing Ceremony, taking place November 10 at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Rogofsky notes the importance of the Festival increasing interest in STEM, but also leading people to acquire the STEM-related knowledge and skills that can land them STEM-related careers—careers that are not only high-paying and in high-demand world-and nationwide, but especially in Maryland.

“Maryland is a true hub of STEM activity,” says Rogofsky, who lists NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, and NSA as just a few of Maryland’s top STEM employers. “There might be no other state where early STEM engagement is more likely to lead to a high-quality, high-demand STEM-related career.”

Rogofsky is already looking forward to 2020, where the festival theme will be “Manufacturing Design.” It will begin on October 2, which is appropriately, National
Manufacturing Day.

There are nearly 60 events in Anne Arundel County in November, including at area libraries, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum, Anne Arundel Community College, Pongo’s Learning Lab, and the National Cryptologic Museum. To learn more about this year’s remaining events, visit MarylandSTEMFestival.org.

—Steve Adams



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