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STEM Fest is a FREE in-person event every October that celebrates science, technology, engineering and math with hands-on activities, exhibits and talks.
STEM Fest is held in the heart of NIU’s DeKalb central campus in the Holmes Student Center, MLK Commons and Founders Memorial Library.
Parking is available for free in any lot on campus on the day of STEM Fest. (Do not park in any space marked “Reserved.”) A parking map is available here.
Scouts and Youth Groups can earn patches. This year’s learners will have the opportunity to earn our Find Your Spark patch, the Passport to My Future patch, as well as multiple mini patches. If this isn’t your first time at STEM Fest, you can even grab a corresponding year patch and show off your frequent flyer status. Sign-up your scouts or youth group for easy check-in at STEM Fest. Email Hollie Rodriguez at email@example.com with any questions.
Request disability-related accommodations by contacting Judith Dymond at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-753-4751. Advance notice is appreciated.
Location: Sandburg Auditorium, Holmes Student Center
10:30 a.m. – NIU STEAM Demo Show
11:30 a.m. – Artemis: NASA’s Mission to the Moon and on to Mars! Presenter: LaTina Taylor, NASA EPDC Specialist
1:30 p.m. – NIU Chemistry Club Demo Show
2:30 p.m. – NIU Steelband Ensemble
3:30 p.m. – NIU STEAM Demo Show
Location: Founders Memorial Library, First Floor
11 a.m. – Illinois Waterways and Great Lakes: Invasive Species and Management Strategies. Presenters: Vic Santucci, Lake Michigan program manager, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Nathan Lederman, Aquatic Nuisance Species Program natural resources specialist, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Noon – Archiving Dime Novels. Presenter: Sata Prescott, project manager for digitization of dime novels, a distinctive collection of 19th century popular fiction, NIU Founders Memorial Library
1 p.m. – The NASA Perseverance Mission: A Precursor to Human Landing on Mars. Presenter: James “Joel” Knapper, NASA Solar System Ambassador for the past 12 years
2 p.m. – The Physics of Football. Speaker: Mike Eads, Associate Professor, NIU Department of Physics
3 p.m. – Exercise Your Brain: How Aerobics and Strength Training Improve Brain Function. Speakers: David Benner, Jr., gerontology instructor, NIU Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, and Jamie Mayer, Ph.D., speech pathologist and associate professor, NIU School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders
More exhibits are being planned every day! Here are a few examples of the interactive exhibits we’re looking forward to this year.
See cotton candy being made within a clear bubble.
Learn about how rockets fly through the atmosphere by making and launching a paper rocket.
Learn about water filtration with this interactive exhibit.
Get a finger trap, and learn how it can feel for a person who stutters to have a block, the feeling of the voice catching in the throat.
Check out the supermileage vehicles on display and interactive pieces for all ages.
Simulate a random walk using a Galton board (also known as a quincunx), where plastic balls drop on a peg board.
Play with vertical wind columns, for an open-ended, creative engineering activity.
Don’t throw away that old t-shirt. Keep it out of the landfill by upcycling it into something new. For this activity, we will supply the t-shirt and easy to follow instructions. It takes about 15 minutes. Use it to carry your goodies after attending other workshops like Build-a-Blinkie.
You will also learn about upcycling and the environmental impact of t-shirts.
Experience spooky science Learn about light, forces, waves, electricity and more with spooky interactive exhibits
Medical Lab Sciences: Learn about good hand hygiene by playing catch-a-germ.
Test your ability to combine oil with water. Can you get them to mix? It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Sit-Treat-Eat Repeat: Take and post a selfie (#NIUSTEMFEST) with our NIU mascot, Mission!
Try your skills at flying a drone and see why it’s quickly becoming a favorite hobby for so many!
BLOCK Fest:Big blocks, small blocks, wood and foam – it’s never too early to begin learning about gravity, balance, geometry and more, while having fun building with blocks.
Come meet the playful, big personality bunnies and loud, social ducks. Visit with and learn about these animals and more.
Visit the lower level of the Founders Memorial Library to show off your innovation skills as you design, test your airplane’s flight range, and refine your finest paper airplane! Then, create a video pitch on why your design is the best!
Discovery Center Museum
Enel Green Power
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Green Paws Environmental Alliance
IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.
Illinois Destination Imagination
NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative
National Stuttering Association DeKalb
NIU American Meteorological Society
NIU Anthropology Club
NIU Autism Caregiver Group
NIU Center for Economic Education
NIU Center for Southeast Asian Studies
NIU Chemistry Club
NIU Chess Club
NIU College Democrats
NIU Communicative Disorders Student Association
NIU Data, Devices and Interaction Laboratory (ddiLab)
NIU Department of Anthropology
NIU Department of Biological Sciences
NIU Department of Computer Science
NIU Department of Geology and Environmental Giosciences
NIU Department of Mathematical Sciences
NIU Department of Mechanical Engineering
NIU Department of Mechanical Engineering
NIU Department of Physics
NIU Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
NIU Esports Club
NIU Formula SAE Team
NIU Inclusive Birding Club
NIU Institute for the Study of Environment, Sustainability and Energy
NIU Mars Rover Team
NIU Medical Laboratory Sciences
NIU Music and Memory
NIU National Society of Black Engineers
NIU Percussion Club
NIU School of Art and Design
NIU Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
NIU Student Dietetic Association
NIU Student Nurses’ Organization
NIU Supermileage Team
Northern Public Radio
OLT Marketing (T-shirt Sales)
Sit – Treat – Eat – Repeat
STEM Fest Information Booth
Sweet Butts Cotton Candy
The Rubber Band Project
Thermo Fisher Scientific
University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy
We need your help to make STEM Fest a success. If you’re a student, alum or community member, sign up now.
You can be a STEM Fest Supporter! Your generous sponsorship reaches thousands of students, children and adults and helps make this annual event possible. As a sponsor, your name and logo will be featured on digital content including the STEM Fest website and STEM Fest social media. We look forward to talking with you soon about sponsorship of STEM Fest. Please contact NIU STEAM director of development, Judith Dymond, Ed.D. at email@example.com at your convenience and let’s get started!
NIU Admissions will be offering campus tours at STEM Fest at 11:00, 11:30, noon, and 12:30. The tours will depart from the information table just outside of Ellington’s on the main floor of the HSC.
As we gear up for year 12 of STEM Fest, we’re thrilled that this flagship event has helped to inspire so many people over the years.
We’re grateful for the participation of our external partners – NASA, Argonne National Labs, Fermilab, Morton Arboretum and the Rockford Park District, as well as the dedication of our long-term sponsors – Ideal Industries, Thermo Fisher, Ecolab, ComEd and Nicor.