The second annual STEM Trek at the Hickory SALT Block hosted the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) this year among other local STEM-related businesses as a signature NC Science Festival Event. Even though the rain came down hard on Friday, 2,500 students still enjoyed experiencing the ORNL trailers, talking with the 40+ engineers and scientists. An additional 1000 students were hoping to attend but due to lack of sufficient transportation, several schools had to cancel. This event was one of only 2 NC sites selected for this traveling science fair. A local student attendee stated, "It was so fun to operate a robotic arm that moved just like my hand!" One teacher shared, "The scientists were amazing! They did such a wonderful job of explaining their jobs and equipment to our students. My students were highly engaged in each of the trailers we were able to visit."
Hickory Daily Record stated: "The themes of the trailers included: Become a Neutron, Extreme Science, Get into Green, Tiny Atoms...Big Science, What's Your Problem? and Supporting Research. Although there was a slight chance of rain on Saturday, some folks braved the forecast and walked through each trailer and visited with local organizations and businesses."
Saturday ended up being clear for most of the day, and the other 500 people in attendance enjoyed the interactive activities from local STEM companies. With the support of Klingspor, Catawba Science Center, ORNL, and STEM West the STEM Trek was a great success. Many thanks go out to all the volunteers! Plans are already in the works to host another event, possibly indoors!