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Partner Highlight: Arkansas State University hosts STEM Fest as Part of the Arkansas Science Festival

January 29, 2020

Jill Kary, Arkansas State University Museum

In honor of Arkansas Science Festival, seven Arkansas State University (A-State) departments, coordinated by Kari Harris of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, came together to host STEM Fest. The results were…to say the very least…EXPLOSIVE! In the beginning, we expected only around 450 – 500 attendees, but….

Event day arrived on October 25, 2019 and loaded bus after loaded bus appeared, dropping off hundreds of STEM participants of various grade levels. These children and their accompanying adults happily scattered throughout the A-State campus for STEM experiences galore. Here at Arkansas State University Museum, well over 900 guests tested What’s in the Water, experienced Sublimation Bubbles, discovered the Nature of Dye, learned that Chemistry is Colorful and how to Build a Battery, and participated in 16 more activities!

Photos were taken by Travis Clayton of the Arkansas State University Digital Creative Media Department.

Michelle Friend sets up Sublimation Bubbles to a captive, goggled audience.


Ghada Alshamsi, an international student from Saudi Arabia, shows a very skeptical student how to build his own battery.


In the midst of all of this, a reporter from our local news media showed up, pointed a camera at the Museum’s curator of education (me), and asked, “May I take five minutes of your time?” My first response was a very kind, “No.” I didn’t have five minutes to give. But thankfully, the reporter hung about for a while, I relented to be interviewed, and STEM Fest was featured on the KAIT evening news.

Watch the short news clip:


As surprised as the Museum staff were at the number of participants, we were even more flabbergasted at the many unexpected presenters who showed up to help, pulling tables (from our storage) into every nook and cranny of the building and asking to be shown what to do. This was a testament to how learnable NISE Network activities are for those who want to join in the fun. Everyone did a super job and the throng of visiting kids and adults left happy, but yearning to learn more.

A-State Art Dept. students and A-State Chemistry Dept. students led guests in mixing dyes, testing pH of their dyes, and painting really pretty pictures.


To learn more about the Arkansas STEM Fest, contact Jill Kary, Curator of Education at Arkansas State University Museum, at [email protected].

More STEM Fest photos

The STEAM Builders LEGO group was a big hit at STEM Fest, as was The Delta School’s Green Screen activity, seen in the background.


Kudos to the A-State Chess Club who volunteered this enormous chess game for the event.​​​​