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Exciting Learning at 8th Annual STEM Expo

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Exciting Learning at 8th Annual STEM Expo
Posted on 10/27/2021
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The Portland Public Schools’ Eighth Annual STEM Expo will be a virtual event offering a wide range of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning opportunities for PPS students from elementary school to high school. The Expo, made possible each year through the generous support of key sponsor EnviroLogix, will take place over four days in early November.

An exciting new addition this year will be interactive college and career panels for students in grade 8 through 12, which will be held on Nov. 1, 2 and 4. More than 20 community experts will speak on the following topics: Energy and Sustainability, Women in STEM, Oceans, Engineering STEM and Maine Colleges and Health Professions. Panelists will include University of Southern Maine faculty and the dean of the College of Science, Technology, and Health. USM is another STEM Expo partner.

Students will hear from the real-life STEM professionals on the panels, sharing who they are, their role in their organizations and what educational path they followed for their current careers. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions as well. These panels will help open students’ eyes to the wide variety of STEM careers available and help them know which courses they’ll need to focus on in high school and college to realize their own career goals.

On Nov. 5, there will be pre-recorded content available for grades 1-12 from partners that include the Maine Wildlife Park, Maine Health, EnviroLogix and Engineers Without Borders. There also will be eight live presentations throughout the day. Presenters will include the University of Maine Engineering Department, Central Maine Power, AmeriCorps members from the Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program and EnviroLogix, a Portland-based company that is a global leader in innovative detection technology for every link in the worldwide food production chain.

“Now in its eighth year, the STEM Expo has become an important fall tradition in our district,” said Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana. “Although we once again can’t hold the Expo in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s virtual event offers robust STEM learning opportunities to thousands of our students, and its online nature actually makes it easier for more students to participate remotely. We are so grateful to EnviroLogix and USM for their steadfast partnership in assisting us in putting on the Expo each year. It’s an important way for our students to expand their STEM knowledge, which is so integral for 21st century jobs.”

EnviroLogix President and CEO Bill Welch said, “EnviroLogix welcomes the opportunity each year to play a role in making students aware of all the STEM opportunities that exist right here in their backyard. Also, as a technology company, our participation is a way for us to not only invest in the community but also in potential future employees.”

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 60 languages. 52 percent of the district’s students are white and 48 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.