STEM Action Center to kick off new year with 'STEM Matters' event

Idaho's STEM Action Center is gearing up to kick off 2017 with a 'STEM Matters' event.

The event will be held at the statehouse on Tuesday, January 24 from noon to 4 p.m. Leaders of the tech industry will join Gov. Butch Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Sen. Bob Nonini (R-Coeur d'Alene) to show their support for the STEM Action Center on the steps of the capitol at 1 p.m.

"We're bringing together students, universities and different people who just love and embrace STEM," said Angela Hemingway, the Executive Director at the STEM Action Center. "This is really a chance for students to get some hands on exposure and bring their parents and legislators to show them what activities are occurring in STEM around the state."

Idaho's STEM Action Center was created during the 2015 legislative session in an effort to partner government, industry and talent. In 2016, two pieces of legislation were passed creating the STEM Education Fund and funding for the statewide computer science initiative.

This session Hemingway will ask legislators to continue funding at $4.5 million. She says most of the money goes toward professional development programs and grants.

She's hopeful that statewide efforts to support STEM in K-12 education will continue in 2017. She says this year, the center is working to host the first ever regional Idaho Science and Engineering Fair.

Idaho is the only state in the nation without a statewide science and engineering fair. Up until now, students have had to go to other states to compete and qualify for nationals and internationals.

The fair will be held in February and March at three different universities across Idaho.