The District 196 STEM Career Fair at Apple Valley High School in February was a huge success! With over 2,000 attendees from all across the district and beyond, it was a fantastic opportunity to network and connect with real world STEM professionals from a variety of career paths. There were over one hundreds booths, representing activities at AVHS, community organizations, and local companies. With everything from DARTdrones to 3M, ARCPoint Labs to the City of Apple Valley, and Esri to various branches of the military, there truly was something for everyone.
The first District 196 STEM Career Fair took place back in 2013 at Eagan High School. It was the idea of EHS teacher Mr. James Lynch, who currently works at Apple Valley High School as the E3 STEM Program Director. Mr. Lynch thought of the idea while talking to his son, a current aerospace engineer who at the time didn’t know anything about the profession.
The fair spent its first two years at Eagan, then moved to Eastview High School for 2015 and 2016. As the district’s STEM school, Apple Valley hosted the fair for 2017 and 2018. Next year’s STEM Fair will be hosted at Rosemount High School.
Apple Valley’s efforts to promote accessibility for the fair were truly incredible. Recognizing that transportation would be a primary concern, AVHS held a tutoring session after school with a free dinner provided so that students could stay until the fair started. There were also bus rides home available after the fair. This ensured that many students who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attend were able to access the same opportunities as everyone else.
Among the students and STEM professionals at the fair, quite a few VIPs attended as well. These VIPs included ISD 196 Superintendent Jane Berenz and Minnesota State Senator Greg Clausen. Apple Valley certainly represented itself well with everything from our R&B band to our STEM extracurriculars and our fabrication lab to our new construction. According to Lynch, the construction crew finished only three hours before the STEM Career Fair began.
The District 196 STEM Career Fair would not have been possible without the efforts of many tireless volunteers and supporters. Thank you to everyone who gave your time to make this night happen!