OneUP Mind Trekkers Career Festivals brings hands-on STEM learning to thousands of 8th graders

Students participate in Mind Trekkers demonstrations.

MiSTEM encourages community partners to join efforts to strengthen STEM education

LANSING – The MiSTEM Network joins Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!, local businesses, and education partners to celebrate the success of two high-energy, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) festivals in the Upper Peninsula. Upcoming events in the series are open to every 8th-grade student in the region and community partners are encouraged to join the effort to support a strong future workforce in STEM careers. 

Mind Trekkers is a flagship program from Michigan Technological University’s Center for Educational Outreach in which college students put on demonstrations to educate and inspire K-12 students to pursue post-secondary education and careers in STEM.  

“Mind Trekkers offers one-of-a-kind opportunities and experiences to spark a sense of wonder and inspiration that is critical for keeping students engaged in and exploring STEM,” said Megan Schrauben, Executive Director of MiSTEM Network. “These events will further MiSTEM’s mission to create a vibrant STEM ecosystem that ultimately leads to more engaged students and a stronger Michigan workforce and we look forward to continuing this vital work with local businesses and schools.” 

From being inside a bubble to playing a piano made of bananas, students will discover firsthand the awe and power of STEM through experimentation. 

The program partners continue to work with local school districts to invite all regional 8th graders and bring community business and economic development partners together to support an educational ecosystem that will build a strong future workforce in STEM. The events bring together community partners across the Upper Peninsula to host four regional Mind Trekkers events. Local partners engaged in the events includes Michigan Works!, Michigan Technical University, Calumet Electronics, Youth Solutions, and OneUP.  

“Helping students prepare to enter the local workforce is a priority for us here at UP Michigan Works,” said Debb Brunell, Interim CEO for Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!. “We look forward to showcasing rewarding opportunities in STEM to regional 8th graders and are proud to play a role in ensuring students have the skills and education necessary to be successful in today’s economy.” 

By increasing STEM learning opportunities in all communities, we will help meet the growing demand for innovative employees in Michigan and foster important social, learning, and employment skills such as cooperation, teamwork, problem-solving, responsibility, communication, and leadership. 

“Programs like Mind Trekkers provide essential ingredients to K-12 students, not only better preparing them to enter the workforce, but exposing students to the wide array of meaningful career opportunities, early enough to identify pathways to future success,” said Todd Brassard, Vice President and COO at Calumet Electronics. “When we work together to provide purposeful STEM learning at early ages, we are recruiting future skilled workforce who will innovate, accelerate, and revitalize American industry.” 

The Mind Trekkers tour dates included December 13 in Houghton and January 27 in Escanaba. Additional events will take place in Sault Ste. Marie on April 21 and in Marquette on a date to be announced this spring.  

To learn more about these events and how to support this and other STEM career exploration efforts, visit the MiSTEM event page

This press release was written and distributed by the State of MI.