Hilltop juniors Victoria Masters and Macey Kunkle along with their science teacher, Cristin Hagans, attended the Northwest Ohio STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Forum held at the University of Toledo on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. The day’s activities included several key note speakers and presentations related to the “Believe in Ohio” program sponsored by The Ohio Academy of Science and the Ohio Board of Regents. The goal of the program is to introduce and excite students to pursue STEM careers in Ohio to help develop new products, services, and jobs in Ohio’s “innovation economy of the future”.
The program blends STEM and business education along with an emphasis in the arts. Students heard from UT professor Dr. Isabel Escobar on her research in membrane separation techniques for drinking water treatment and former UT engineering graduate, Connor Kress, CEO of the local Toledo company, Hephaestus Limited, who designs and manufactures firefighting drones. Kirk Kern, director for the Entrepreneurial Leadership program at Bowling Green State University, spoke on BGSU’s version of “Shark Tank”, called The Hatch, in which college students pitch their business plans to alumni investors. Dr. Eugene Sanders led a session on the importance of STEM education in preparing to be competitive in the 21st century global economy.
Masters and Kunkle are currently researching their own independent science topics for presentation at the Hilltop Science Fair to be held on Feb. 14, 2015.