04 October 2013


I had seen a short blurb in the paper a couple of weeks ago about a STEM Expo (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, for those not up on the lingo) that was going to be held sort of locally. After a bit of Googling to find the details, both exactly where it was going to be held and who was going to be there, I decided that Sweet Pea really needed to go.

For quite a while she's been talking about wanting to study meteorology; she wants to learn about extreme weather, especially tornadoes, so she can figure out how to help people prepare and survive these types of storms. And then physics came along and did not play nicely. She became really frustrated, having a strong desire to study meteorology but not really liking science and math. We looked at the class requirements at a couple of colleges and there's lots of physics, chemistry, and calculus, along with all the weather type classes.

I'm really glad we went to this expo. It was held in a mall almost an hour away but it was worth the drive. While there were a lot of booths she wasn't interested in visiting, she spent quite a bit of time at the NOAA booth (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) as well as a few others. Most of the booths had catchy names and interactive things for the kids to do. It was mainly geared towards middle and high school students.

We stopped first at the NOAA booth and she had a chance to talk to someone there that worked the night of the derecho that came through our area last summer. It was very interesting talking to him and I think she got a good inside look at what one type of meteorology job entails. He also was very encouraging, gave her some guidance on colleges to look at, suggestions on classes she could/should take in high school, and a few other tidbits.

We then wandered around to more of the booths, stopped at a few that looked like they might be interesting, and went back for the opening "ceremony." One reason we went back for that is that Josh W. a storm chaser was speaking. He showed his tornado equipment and talked a bit about what he does. We wandered around some more, stopped and talked with the people at the USGS (US Geological Survey) booth, although that was more for me than her. After that, she decided she had seen what she wanted to so we went back upstairs to the food court for lunch. Another stop at the NOAA booth to talk some more and try out the wind gauge, then we were on the road to home.

Learning about wind speed

Going was worth it because while it reinforced her desire to be a meteorologist, it also reinforced the science that was needed by someone who is doing what she wants to do. It was good to get more information about college options, professional organizations, and some other options that will be open to her when she's in college.

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