Some 200 Perry-area youngsters and their parents attended Saturday’s STEM Festival at the DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy Saturday, enjoying activities ranging from simulated welding to virtual reality.
“The purpose of the event,” according to DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy Director Eddie Diaz, “was to help motivate students to think of the STEM field as opportunity for their future and see themselves pursuing life’s opportunities by taking classes at DMACC.”
A large group of sponsors staged a bewildering variety of STEM-related activities. Sponsoring the experiments and demonstrations were Tyson Fresh Meats, students and staff of DMACC, Dallas County Extension, Iowa State University Women in Science Education (WISE), Perry Elementary School, Perry Public Library, Iowa Public Television, Perry Volunteer Fire Department and the city of Perry. The Perry Hy-Vee also helped sponsor the event.
“Ladies make good welders,” said DMACC welding instructor Bob Hunt, as a female tried out the welding simulator operated by Hunt and fellow welding instructor Jim Von Behren. The simulator, an $80,000 piece of equipment, was on loan from the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 33 Training Center in Des Moines, Von Behren said.