STEM Expo was started with the vision of one person, our Chief Instigator (and Executive Director) - Dr. Eric Bull. When asked about putting the event's history on paper, this is what he told us:
"After years of teaching in K-8, it came to my attention that many of the students did not eagerly anticipate the annual science fair -- and it wasn’t just the kids. Teachers and parents also didn’t seem very excited about the yearly event. On the other side of this, I also observed that even though the students weren’t necessarily geared towards the scientific method, most of them really enjoyed exploring & fiddling with things related to patterns, science, technology, engineering and the like.
"While teaching middle school in the late 1990’s, I began to toy with the idea of making our school’s science fair something everyone would look forward to. The first step was allowing students to broaden their horizons by changing guidelines to allow projects of invention, science fiction and Rube Goldberg. Although this proved successful within our own facility, there was nothing offered beyond our school that would enable students to continue their successes within these categories.
"In 2007, after accepting a position at William Jessup University in Placer County, I was shocked to learn that the county had no science fair. In fact, the only option was the Sacramento County Regional Science & Engineering Fair -- and less than 2% of the entrants came from Placer County. Immediately my goal was to create an alternative and innovative science competition that would highlight the talents of students in Placer & surrounding counties. I began meeting with, and pitching my idea to everyone in the local STEM community that would listen - and fortunately a few did!
"From a humble beginning of just a handful of individuals who believed in the dream - small advisory meetings soon formed into an executive board of myself, Tom Toy (local elementary science teacher), Alan LeVezu (control system engineer and robotics coach) and Heidi Buck (Artist). With William Jessup University’s Education Department sponsoring us by providing space for the event, and the rest paid for out of our own pockets, we modified the name to the Placer County STEM Expo, expanded to the current seven categories, launched a website and began planning our first ever event in March of 2011. The following year we expanded our executive board. Since then, STEM Expo continues to grow, always held on the first Saturday in March, with the sequential numbered event matching the last digit of the year (2016 - STEM Expo 6).
"We're looking forward to continuing to grow and expand the STEM Expo concept in Placer County and around the country. We hope that you will be excited about it as well!"
Dr. Eric Bull, SciEdD - July 2013
Associate Professor, Liberal Studies & Credentialing, William Jessup University