Metro students explore STEM at free festival

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — From robots to Rubik’s cubes, metro students got a chance to see Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in action Monday.

It was all part of the 2nd Annual STEM Festival at the R4 Creating building.

Dr. Shelly Gruenig, R4’s founder and executive director, said their goal is to get kids excited about STEM by having them create it.

“Most kids just need a little confidence boost. They sometimes don’t even realize how much they love STEM until they show up here and pick up a remote control and drive a robot.” Gruenig said.

It may have seemed like the festival was just carnival games and fair food. The goal of the fair, though, was much more important.

“My favorite part, really, is connecting them, as they get older, with industry and helping to build our STEM workforce for the 22nd century,” Gruenig said.

She added the festival acts as an open house for those new to STEM, like Vanessa Galindo’s kids.

“I told him that you’re really good with robots. So why not come check out the STEM situation and see how it goes?” Galindo recalled approaching her two sons about going to the festival.

According to Galindo, STEM can be a bit intimidating, but the festival was an easy way to get an inside look at the possibilities.

“They gave us a chance to be able to look at the engineering part the mathematics part and the technical part of it. So, it was really nice,” Galindo said.

The R4 Creating group also has a competitive robotics team. The nonprofit just opened registration for the Fall competition season.

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