STEM Career Expo at Fermilab

Local high school students spoke with professionals from across the STEM fields at Fermilab’s fifth annual career expo. Photo: Sarah Charley

On April 11, more than 500 students and parents from the west suburban Chicago area converged on Wilson Hall for the fifth annual STEM Career Expo.

STEM careers, which include science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, are important in our increasingly technical society. But many students are not exposed to these fields during high school.

“In high school, most students are not taught about how many different types of STEM careers there are,” said Susan Dahl from the Education Office. “For example, there are so many different types of engineers—mechanical, chemical, software—but students often don’t learn about the different types.”

This year’s STEM Career Expo featured more than 70 professionals representing almost 30 fields, ranging from acoustic engineering to particle astrophysics. These professionals came to Fermilab to discuss their career paths with curious students.

“My field is one of the best kept secrets in medicine,” said Jane Wood, a specialist in health information management and medical record coding. “I love my job and I’m excited to be able to get the word out that this is a career to consider.”

High school students were able to peruse the various booths positioned around the Wilson Hall atrium and attend panel discussions with professionals representing the various disciplines.

“When it comes to learning about the different STEM careers, nothing compares to meeting a STEM professional face-to-face,” Dahl said. “The students get to see that people in these fields are fascinating people.”

Science-minded students came to the expo looking to expand their knowledge of possible STEM careers.

“This was a great opportunity,” wrote a sophomore from Somonauk High on the event evaluation. “It completely opened up many new job opportunities and ideas for my future.”

Even parents and grandparents were able to partake in the excitement.

“This is awesome,” said an enthusiastic grandparent from St. Charles. “It’s really good that Fermilab puts on events like this.”

—Sarah Charley