STEAM Summit brings future of education to Kirksville

Between 3-D printers, a fake human hand and robots traveling across the cafeteria floor, a lot was happening at a local middle school on Monday.

A focus in STEAM education has become more important over the years, which is why a summit was held in Kirksville.

The fourth annual Kirksville Area STEAM Summit took place at William Matthew Middle School.

There, area educators, community partners and student leaders learned more about how STEAM is growing rapidly and how it will impact future generations.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Joe Vincent, president of the Kirksville Area STEAM Alliance, says the idea behind the summit is to promote and celebrate education in those areas.

"It's an incredible showcase of all of the things that go on that students are involved in and the community support of organizations that exist to sort of emphasize and encourage STEAM-related activities."

The event consisted of numerous breakout sessions including the future of informational technology occupations and panel discussions.

An IT specialist, farmer, MoDOT engineer and wastewater treatment plant operator were just some of the occupations discussed that utilize STEAM education.

"The emphasis for STEAM-related fields isn't in Silicon Valley, only. It's not on the coasts where things seem to move faster and stay further ahead. The emphasis and need for those types of technologies and those types of equipped students are right here in northeast Missouri."

Employers these days are looking for applicants with multiple skill sets.

Vincent says that's why STEAM focuses on a number of areas.

He told KTVO that right now, STEAM jobs are on the increase, and he expects that trend to continue.

"The gap between employers and skilled workers is pretty large and makes for an incredibly fertile environment for students who want to emphasize these types of fields in their education because they literally have doors thrown wide open. They can go do all sorts of things."

Between sessions, those in attendance had the chance to see local students show off their creations.

Many said they were impressed with what they learned, and hope another STEAM summit will be held next year.

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