Impossible Science Student Challenge to Launch at USA Science and Engineering Festival
Meghan Brown posted on March 29, 2018 |

Are you fascinated by the secrets of the deep blue sea?  Do you long to fly through outer space—or surf through cyberspace?  Are you curious about the tiniest details of the human body, or the enormous wonders of the natural world? 

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can take you to all these places and more!  The USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo showcases STEM for students. It opens on April 5th and runs through the weekend until April 8th, 2018.

This year’s Festival will serve as the launch pad for a new STEM challenge that aims to keep kids engaged in STEM long past the Festival weekend: the Impossible Science Student Challenge

Jason Latimer, curator of the Impossible Science show and a special guest of the Festival will announce the official launch of the competition, which he hopes will inspire students to wonder, ask questions and bring science fiction to life using STEM.

“The only thing separating the impossible from the possible is the individual wondering about the right question.  Our goal with this contest it to inspire that individual!  We want to engage students to challenge the impossible through their how’s, why’s, what if’s and why not’s, and encourage them to think outside the box using science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Latimer stated.

The challenge will be hosted on the engineering.com’s ProjectBoard platform, where participants will be able to collaborate in real time in a shared workspace to create their project, form a team and organize their final presentations. Latimer will bring his Impossible Science LIVE stage show to the school of the grand prize-winning student or team, and the winning project will also be showcased on engineering.com.

Early registration is currently open, with the official launch announcement happening during the Festival Expo weekend.

“We are delighted that Jason Latimer and engineering.com are launching the Impossible Science Student Challenge at the USA Science and Engineering Festival,” said Marc Schulman.  “Challenges like this, that demonstrate how cool science and engineering can be, are what we need to help encourage more kids to go into STEM careers.”

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is a Can’t Miss Event

The largest STEM expo in North America, the Festival is free to attend and features a wide range of family-oriented STEM events, including more than 3,000 hands-on activities, experiments, exhibits and live performances geared toward encouraging kids and teens to get involved in STEM.

“Our nation’s future relies on encouraging more kids to go into STEM careers,” said Marc Schulman, executive director of the Festival.  “By hosting the nation’s largest science festival, we are hoping to capture their imaginations by introducing them to science rock stars and engaging them in real science projects.”

Check out this 2016 Festival recap:

A “Who’s Who” of STEM Celebrities

One of the highlights of the Festival is the variety of STEM celebrities who will showcase exciting activities and inspiring presentations. There are explorers, astronauts and inventors working in such diverse fields as oceanography, climatology, robotics, neuroscience, astronomy, artificial intelligence—and so much more.

Their enthusiasm and passion for their fields and for sharing their knowledge with the next generation of scientists and engineers is what makes the Festival really shine as a unique event for anyone interested in STEM.

(Image courtesy of USA Science and Engineering Festival.)
(Image courtesy of USA Science and Engineering Festival.)

A few of the speakers and presentations this year include:

  • NASA astronaut Jessica Meir discussing her “Journey to NASA” and becoming an astronaut.
  • DIY Sci host Steve Spangler returns with his stage show featuring exciting hands-on, high-energy science experiments.
  • Mr. Freeze of Fermilab (a.k.a. Jerry Zimmerman) brings the coolest show to the Expo with demonstrations of cryogenic science.

If you want to get an early start to the weekend, there’s also the Thursday, April 5th X-STEM Symposium.  X-STEM offers a “TED-talk style” event featuring interactive presentations by STEM role models and industry-leading STEM professionals.

This year’s X-STEM lineup includes:

  • NASA astrophysicist Natalie Batalha on Searching for Life Beyond the Solar System.
  • Bill Nye Saves the World correspondent and Xploration Outer Space host Emily Calandrelli on space exploration and scientific literacy.
  • Robotics engineer Howie Choset talks robots From Search and Rescue to Surgery: Explore the Future Role or Robotics.
  • Neuroscientist Greg Gage shares stories about Inspiring Tomorrow’s Neuroscientists the “Backyard Brains” Way.
  • Robolink hosts a Sumo Bot programming, modification and competition tournament—workshop style.
  • Computer scientist Jean Yang shares the importance of Bringing the Power of Computer Programming to the Masses.
  • Stunt scientist and engineer Steve Wolf reveals the movie magic secrets of Using Technology of Hollywood Stunts and Special Effects to Inspire STEM Frontiers.
Neuroscientist Greg Gage from Backyard Brains leads a demonstration on neuroscience. (Image courtesy of USA Science and Engineering Festival.)
Neuroscientist Greg Gage from Backyard Brains leads a demonstration on neuroscience. (Image courtesy of USA Science and Engineering Festival.)

Attendance at the X-STEM Symposium is free, but advance registration is required and can be found here.

School groups, homeschoolers and military families can also take advantage of Sneak Peek Friday on April 6thRegistration is required and available here.

Discover the Future of Work at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

What will jobs be like in the future?  What careers will be available in 15 or 20 years?  What are the skills young workers will need to succeed in high-tech careers?  The Festival can help answer these questions.

One of the stated goals of the Festival is to bring more kids into STEM early in order to build a strong generation of STEM experts for the future economy.

To that end, the Festival has extended its career-related offerings to include the first ever STEM Career Fair Night event on the evening of Friday, April 6th.  Open to university and college undergraduate and graduate students, the STEM career fair offers opportunities to connect with future employers to learn about STEM careers, to help them decide what STEM path they want to follow. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with top STEM companies and government agencies who are actively looking to recruit talent, such as:

  • 23andMe
  • Air Force Cryptologic and Cyber Systems Division
  • Deloitte
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • ExpressJet Airlines
  • Fannie Mae
  • GSK Biopharm
  • Lockheed Martin
  • RockwellCollins
  • Schneider Electric
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • US Naval Research Laboratory
  • And many more!

The Career Fair Night is free to attend, but registration is required and can be completed here.

For younger students who still have a ways to go before entering the working world, there will be a range of education exhibitors from top universities and colleges across the US who will be on-site all weekend.  Representatives from these schools, who will be performing demonstrations and leading hands-on activities, will also be available to talk about pursuing a STEM education and what it’s like to study in STEM.

Come Join Us!

If this all sounds cool (and it is!) then come join the fun and See Where STEM Can Take You!

The USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo is held at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW in Washington, DC.

  • Thursday, April 5th: X_STEM Symposium, 9:30am to 3pm
  • Friday, April 6th: Sneak Peek Friday, hosted by Chevron for schools and military families, 9am to 3pm, and STEM Career Fair Night, 3pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, April 7th 10am to 6pm and Sunday, April 8th 10am to 4pm: USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo

All the info you need can be found online at the USA Science and Engineering Festival website.

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