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Sharing their passion: high school students create virtual STEM fair

When schools closed due to COVID-19, a group of students sought out a different way to host a STEM Fair — virtually.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — When schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a group of teenage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lovers sought out a different way to host a STEM Fair. They took to the web to create Covid-19 Virtual Stem Fair.

Franklin High School seniors Gaby Gomez and Anaiya Williamson and South Sutter Charter School senior Denver Russell are three of the nine students who are hosting the virtual STEM fair.

"I wanted to create something that would uplift students," said Williamson, the executive director of the STEM fair.  "Also give them something to look forward to."

As stated on their Facebook page, the event encourages "innovation in isolation."

"I’m really excited for students to create a passion project and have something to do over the summer," said Gomez, who is the communications director for the project.

Students in middle school and high school in Sacramento and Yolo counties are instructed to write a report on their project, provide a diagram to visually show the project and then present their research in a video. Students who place can win up to $500. Funds have been donated by multiple sponsors, including Intel and UC Davis.

"We wanted to give everyone an opportunity to do something they’re strong at," said Russell, who has taken on the role of digital marketing manager for the Covid-19 Virtual Stem Fair.

Students can present anything from 3D models to full on research within any of the categories listed on their website

"It’s a great activity to put on college applications and college scholarship applications," said Gomez.

Williamson said she would like the project to continue on at her school after she graduates. 

"I’d like to pass on this tradition at Franklin High School, pass it down to underclassmen so this can be a reoccurring thing," Williamson said.

Through the COVID-19 Virtual STEM Fair, Williamson, Gomez and Russell hope to reel more of their peers into the world they're so passionate about. 

"I think STEM is our future," 17 year old Williamson said. "I think everyone should know some elements because technology will just keep advancing and it’s so important to know how to use that technology to the fullest and understand how it can make our world better." 

"STEM is so broad," Russell added. "You don’t have to feel like you have to be good at just this or that. There are so many different paths that you can take to show people that even if you’re late or just learning, there’s still a place for you in the STEM world."

Students can still register here for the COVID-19 STEM Fair. Submissions are due by August 10.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Barbara Bingley.



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