More than 1,000 students are expected to gather at the second annual Colorado Discovery Festival at Fort Lewis College on Friday and Saturday to learn about robotics, forensics, rocket propulsion and the brain.
The event, hosted by Big Brother Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado, is meant to introduce students to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Executive Director Anita Carpenter said.
“There is a world of opportunity out there, and it’s theirs to explore and go for,” she said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nonprofit that connects children and teenagers with mentors in the community. It has incorporated STEM activities into its after-school programs, as well.
“We have found the kids have been really excited and interested,” Carpenter said.
On the first day of the festival, the nonprofit expects about 1,000 students from schools in Bayfield, Cortez and Durango to attend, and on Saturday the event is open to the public.
The festival is hosting 18 exhibitors, including Advanced Mobile Propulsion Test, a Durango company; Powerhouse Science Center; Mountain Studies Institute; and Mercy Regional Medical Center.
The event is expanding this year with a building competition on Saturday morning with three age categories for older elementary students, middle and high school students.
The students are allowed to compete with an adult, and all the teams will be supplied with materials needed to compete.
The competition starts at 9 a.m.; there will be several hours for teams to build, test and repair their creations before the judging.
“It’s a great way for kids and their families to spend the morning,” Carpenter said.
The Discovery Festival is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Lewis College Student Life Center.