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Experts talk to high school students about STEM careers at annual expo

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Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-09 20:43:38-05

LAYTON, Utah -- Nearly 1,000 high school students and teachers were at the Northern Utah STEM Career and College Expo Monday.

Local institutions and colleges that specialize in STEM subjects were showing and teaching kids about their fields.

It's an annual event at the Davis Conference Center. Students from high schools across the region come to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and math and get a feel for what they want to do in the future.

Robots, machines, 3-D printers and soil, the Northern Utah Stem Expo had it all for students to explore and learn about the fields they want to study.

“Everyone here is really helpful -- like they explain what they do, different jobs in the field, especially in STEM - science technology, engineering and math, of course, but they also say what colleges you should go to, what you should study," said Alex Nielson, a sophomore at Layton High School.

Experts were demonstrating how things work and giving students a chance to try it themselves.

“I thought I’d bring this wooden puzzle game that is a classic computer science conundrum," said Daniel Watson, a computer science professor at Utah State University. “How do you get a computer program to move a bunch of disks from one pole to another?”

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. They’re all fields that less and less students are pursuing in college, and experts are trying to get kids more excited about careers in science or technology.

“As we look at what careers are going to be in high demand in the future, the majority of those careers have a STEM component," said Zac Williams, spokesman for Ogden School District. "And so that’s why it’s important that our students are prepared to be able to enter into that job field.”

Kids say the expo is teaching them things they never knew about before and helping them get a better grasp on the STEM subjects before they enter the workforce.

“And it showed me some of the companies here in Utah that I didn’t know about before, that makes it so I might want to work there in the future," said Kadin Worthen, a junior at Bountiful High School.

“They’ve definitely made it interesting," said Atlee Springer, a sophomore at Northridge High School. "There’s been a couple where it could’ve gone horribly wrong and terribly boring, but they’ve found ways to pique your interest.”