STEAM Expo was an event held on Jan. 28 to teach students about the fun of science and technology, inspiring students to explore careers that are STEAM-based. 

Students were able to bring out their inner scientist and experiment with different things in the STEAM village. Students could play with augmented reality apps and even code a rocket ship through outer space. They were also able to speak with teachers and students about programs that are available.

“Getting to talk to students and kids for the past two hours was just a blast,” NASA Flight Director Elias Myrmo said. “I love talking to people that like space, so I could go on all day about space. It’s been a lot of fun.”

This year, the STEAM Expo’s theme was space and space exploration. Booths centered around the theme, featuring retired NASA astronaut Don Thomas, Myrmo and former Naples High school students. Janet Ivey, founder and CEO of Janet’s Planet, was also there to inspire young kids. 

“My dream is to inspire the students, and maybe one of you will become an astronaut to go to Mars to continue what I started,” Thomas said. “I’m a retired astronaut, but we need new astronauts to continue the program.”

The STEAM Expo has one mission – to inspire students to think about career paths they had not previously considered. Lindy George, Instructional Technology Teacher on Special Assignment for CCPS, is the one who started the STEAM Expo and has kept it running for many years. She even invited Myrmo’s former teachers to come back and see him during this event. She brings in different people each year to make each new STEAM event more enjoyable than the last.

“Each year, we tried to bring in different kinds of keynote speakers, so that they’re fun and exciting experiences,” George said. “Then, the STEAM Village offers such a wide variety so that not only can you see what’s possible, but then see CTE academies and how you might follow those paths.” 

One of the biggest events at the STEAM Expo is the STEAM Village, where students can go to different booths featuring hands-on space themed activities. Booths like flight simulation with Lely High school pilots, Battle of the Bots and Build your Own Planet were popular. Technical colleges like Lorenzo Walker or Immokalee were also present during this time.

“At our booth, we’re practicing with our simulation mannequins Stan, and with Stan, the students can listen to the heart rate, lung and bowels,” Practical Nursing Instructor of Immokalee Technical College James Leavor said. 

The STEAM Expo has inspired countless individuals and has helped students discover career paths that they may have never thought of before. It is an event that takes hard work and a lot of people to make happen and has been successful since it started in 2010. 

“Whatever career you want to do, work hard and don’t give up on your dreams,” Thomas said.