STEM festival

Ready for lift off, this student puts the principles of rocket launching to practice.

CAMBRIDGE — The Maryland STEM Festival came to Cambridge’s Cannery Way on Saturday morning, Nov. 2.

The event, intended to promote student interest in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), featured several booths with activities and information for kids. Children could build and launch an air-powered rocket, view baby barnacles through a microscope, build models of truss bridges from marshmallows and toothpicks, and participate many other engaging activities.

Phil Rogofsky, founder and executive director of the festival, said the annual celebration of STEM aims to promote a wide range of fields to give kids a better opportunity to understand how the world around them works and to promote their pursuit of a STEM-related career.

“The more you get kids involved, the more they can see what interests them, and the more likely they are to embrace STEM,” Rogofsky said.

Rogofsky said he wants to help create a culture of STEM that mirrors the way sports are promoted and enjoyed by kids. He said the event participants — including private, nonprofit STEM organizations, engineers, marine biologists and meteorologists — illustrate the broad array of ways STEM effects our daily lives, as well as the numerous possible career paths students can pursue.

Rogofsky said the event in Cambridge is part of his organization’s effort to expand into and better serve the Eastern Shore. While last year’s festival drew an estimated 35,000 people to over 500 events, including at least one event in every county, Rogofsky said he thought the roughly 700 events this year would increasingly spread the positive impact of the festival to historically underserved areas of the state like the Shore.

The event began as a collaboration between Rogofsky and his son in his son’s middle school, and grew to a month long, statewide festival conducted in public and private schools, local libraries and other venues.

The 2019 Maryland STEM Festival ran from Oct. 11 to Nov. 10. The focus of this year’s festival was "Space and Flight" in honor of the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. In an inadvertent coincidence with this year’s theme, the Antares rocket blasted off from NASA’s Wallops Island facility during the Cannery Way festival on Nov. 2.

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