On Saturday, March 25, 12 students from Saint James the Apostle School in Springfield will be participating in the first annual Archdiocese of Newark STEM EXPO at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center located at 499 Belgrove Drive in Kearny, New Jersey. Projects from hundreds of Catholic elementary school students representing 31 elementary schools in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union Counties will be on display. The public is welcome to attend this exciting, educational, event from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm to celebrate STEM and its future in our classrooms.

The STEM Expo is more than just the typical science fair. Working collaboratively, our students have explored innovative ways that engineering, cultural empathy, and scientific knowledge can be used to better our world. Students used the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a basis for their projects. Back in 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. Our young people are the future, and they are “Engineering a Better World” by tackling these challenges head on.

STEM has really inspired the students at Saint James the Apostle School. “It has been amazing to watch our students use STEM to solve global challenges and how STEM has transformed the way they think about the world around them, instilling an appreciation for the gifts God has given them and a desire to help others.” said Mrs. Caroline Ponterio, the school’s principal.

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The students are just as excited about STEM as are their teachers, 7th grader Natalyah Cadiche enthusiastically commented, “The STEM Expo is something all students should get to participate in. You get to build amazing projects and prototypes with your classmates and friends to help solve problems in foreign countries. I can't wait for next year!”

Aside from the student projects that will be on display, the event will feature Karishma Bhagani , a young woman dedicated to meeting the challenges of providing clean water in her native Kenya. She will bring examples of her award-winning technology, Matone di Chiwit. Additionally, she will share her real life journey from a STEM fair project to an actual product that is currently in use to help others. 

Ms. Bhagani will be speaking starting at 11:45 am.

Barbara Dolan, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction for the Archdiocese of Newark commented on the STEM journey of the schools stating, “It has been amazing to watch the Archdiocesan STEM Expo Program take shape over the past six months. The willingness of the participating schools to embrace the process has been very impressive. As I visited the school-level STEM Fairs and listened to the students present their projects I became aware of the many learning outcomes represented in those projects.  In addition to science, technology, engineering and math the projects reflect global awareness, collaboration, critical thinking, community service, communication, research skills and perseverance.  Quite a few students spoke about how rewarding it was to design something that is intended to improve life for others. “  

Ms. Dolan, and representatives of ProjectEngin , the STEM education consulting firm that developed the model and supporting materials for the Archdiocese of Newark STEM Fair program, will be available for questions, along with the teachers who led their students on this amazing journey.