STEM conference to be held at GVSU

6:52 AM, Jun 3, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - There's a national conference starting Monday focusing on the science, technology, engineering and math industries.

This is the third year Grand Valley State University has hosted this two-day collaboration known as the "STEM" conference.  The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

The conference addresses the need for better education, especially since there's a demand in the fields of engineering and computer science.

"There are comparisons that there are some countries that graduate ten engineers for every lawyer," says Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at GVSU.  "In the United States the ratio is reversed."

Plotkowski says he has employers contacting him on a daily basis in need of more professionals.  That's why he says this conference is so important.

Over the winter, more than 200 girls filled Grand Rapids Community College for the STEM Girl Genius Conference.  The students were encouraged to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and math by getting them excited about those industries though hands-on activities.

That's exactly what Plotkowski says needs to continue and that's what this conference is all about.

"We're trying to expose students to the opportunities that are there," he says.  "We want students that have a natural inclination to know the opportunities and then we want to develop techniques and be effective in encouraging them and helping them be successful."

The conference will feature workshops and speakers.

They'll talk about ways to help students on all levels do better on their transition into college, improving the teaching of those disciplines and collaborating with industry and how to make them career ready before they graduate.

Some of the keynote speakers include a manager at Rolls-Royce and a leader at Dow Chemical.

The conference wraps up at GVSU's Pew Campus on Tuesday.

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