STEM Celebration Shines Spotlight on Community, Diverse World of Science - Christopher Newport University


Students huddle close together and look at a computer screen during STEM Day.

STEM Celebration Shines Spotlight on Community, Diverse World of Science

CNU, Newport News Public Schools join forces for fun day of learning

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Students watch on as robots battle.

As the world advances, the need for people in STEM fields grows exponentially. Christopher Newport is doing its part to interest as many young people as possible in science and technology-driven career paths.

On Saturday, thousands streamed onto campus for STEM Community Day, an annual event held in partnership with Newport News Public Schools. The event showcased many different facets of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields for children and adults in hopes of sparking interest and intrigue. The day, geared toward all things science, gave the community a chance to see the number of opportunities created by STEM in Hampton Roads, a hub of public and private entities focused on technology, space, military, and science.

Companies and organizations, from Jefferson Lab to the Coast Guard, whetted the appetites of people interested in pursuing those fields, whether that be tomorrow or in 10 years. The collective STEM community came together for a free day of experiments, knowledge, and wonder.

"STEM Day is a great way to begin summer. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to see that science can be fun and that science is everywhere," said Dr. Lynn Lambert, Associate Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies.

“STEM Community Day is about lifelong learning because there's something for everyone, from preschool to adults. It sparks a love of problem-solving, inventiveness, and collaboration,” said Tami Byron, NNPS STEM Instructional Supervisor. “Our partnership with CNU offers our students and families a college campus experience right in our backyard through our annual STEM Community Day event. It introduces them to local STEM careers and career pathways like CNU’s computer science, science, and engineering programs. It brings families and the community together to celebrate science, technology, engineering, and math.”

The event offered robotics competitions, hands-on exhibitions from almost 100 exhibitors, including Jefferson Lab, NASA, Virginia Air and Space Museum, SPCA, and the military. Exhibitors filled the Freeman Center, eager to share their scientific prowess with attendees. The day was meant to introduce the many faces of STEM, the ways it is used in everyday life, and the slew of career opportunities it fosters.

School systems are focused on growing their STEM programs as they prepare the next generation for the ever-changing workforce. About a quarter of the U.S. workforce is employed in STEM occupations. Of the 146.4 million people ages 18 to 74 in the workforce, 34.9 million, or 24 percent, were employed in STEM occupations in 2021, according to the National Science Foundation STEM Workforce Report.

At Christopher Newport, STEM subjects are the most popular majors, according to Lambert. The University has embraced STEM fields and offers many areas of study that center around them.

“We believe Christopher Newport is the best place to study STEM in Virginia. That’s because of our dedicated professors and facilities like this one. It’s also because there are so many opportunities in the local area,” said President Bill Kelly.

For those reasons, Christopher Newport provides an ideal location at which to celebrate community and explore all of STEM’s possibilities.

“As a university where STEM subjects are the top majors, we are honored to be the site for bringing together schools, museums, national laboratories, and more for one interactive, fun, and knowledge-packed day,” Lambert said.

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