STEM Festival Will Be Online And Will Feature Northwest Iowa Manufacturers

Northwest Iowa — It’s a different kind of STEM festival. For two reasons — one, it will be online, due to COVID; and two — it talks about specific opportunities with specific manufacturers in northwest Iowa.

We talked with the Northwest STEM Regional Manager of the Northwest Iowa Region Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Mary Trent, and she tells us about the Northwest Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (or STEM) festival.

(as said:) “Because of COVID issues we decided to take it virtually this year and because it’s “virtually,” we were able to offer some advantages as well to our folks signing up for it. First of all, we’re opening up to our 22 counties in Iowa and we have capacity of up to 500 students to join and so that’s the largest we’ve been able to offer from what we’ve been able to do in the past so we’re super excited about that.”

She tells us about the other thing that makes this opportunity unique — the partnerships with manufacturers.

(as said:) “We have 12 manufacturers that have joined our festival that are partnering with us… that are teaching our youth in grades five through eight all about some great career opportunities that are available in northwest Iowa, especially in the advanced manufacturing sector. And so we have partnered up with them and created special activities and STEM challenges that coincide with the skills and the products and the happenings that are going on in their companies and so the kids experience a direct connection to what’s going on in the companies with the skills they’re learning with the STEM challenges. So it’s a really great opportunity.”

Many northwest Iowa manufacturers, and some just outside of our area are participating. Some of them include AGCO of Jackson, Minnesota; Diamond Vogel of Orange City; Interstates of Sioux Center; Pella Corporation of Carroll and Sioux Center; Polaris of Spirit Lake; Rosenboom of Spirit Lake and Sheldon; Sekisui Aerospace of Orange City; and Wells Blue Bunny of Le Mars.

Trent tells us more about the STEM Fest.

(as said:) “It’s open the entire month of October and it’s absolutely free to anyone that registers. And as soon as they register we’re going to be sending out some stem kits to them up to 500… as I said before is what we have our capacity… and everything in those STEM kits are the materials they’ll need to do the STEM challenges. So we’re excited. We’ve got several registrations coming in today. So that’s very exciting. If you’re interested sign up.”

According to Trent, it’s a great opportunity to make connections and to build the future northwest Iowa workforce. She says parents and teachers can register their students online from September 21 – September 25, 2020, at