STEMCON is one of the few national conferences open to all K-12 STEM educators and professionals to connect, collaborate and share best practices. Every year STEMCON updates its standards, curriculum and tracks to reflect the up and coming trends including robotics, social media in the classroom, forward-thinking technology (drones, AI) and digital literacy. To find out more about the conference we sat down with JoLynn Blatz, Director of Marketing at Concept Schools:
Q: How did the idea for a STEM Conference start and when?
A: The original idea for STEMCON stemmed from CONSEF (Concept Science & Engineering Fair), that was designed for students attending our 31 network schools to compete in a science fair. After seeing students compete and learn so much from the CONSEF experience and the teachers’ enthusiasm, we thought it fitting to offer a conference designed for K-12 educators to further develop STEM education within their schools; thus evolving into what we now call STEMCON. The original conference was designed to host a science fair, robotics displays, science demonstrations (STEM Expo) and the educator conference (STEMCON) all in one. The conference grew quickly, however, in the past five years from a regional conference into a nationwide conference with more than 400 attendees from 35 states in 2017, and now focuses on STEM educators and professionals convening to collaborate, connect and share best practices. STEMCON is one of the few national STEM conferences for educators in the country open to all STEM professionals and enthusiasts.
Q: How did STEMCON grow over time?
A: STEMCON started with 150 attendees with most coming from our own (Concept Schools) schools and was hosted in Cleveland, Ohio. Word got out and STEMCON expanded quickly; within a few years we had 400 attendees from 35 states across the United States. The 5th annual STEMCON (2018) will take place in Chicago, Illinois, and we are expecting 600 attendees. The conference has also expanded to include an engaging keynote speaker every year, guest speakers and exhibitors, 40 breakout sessions, hands-on workshops and curriculum bursts.
Q: What was your attendees’ profile like in the following years?
A: STEMCON has attracted local, regional and national STEM teachers and administrators as well as professionals from STEM-focused organizations and businesses. We have featured the following as keynote speakers: Dr. Vince Bertram, President of Project Lead the Way (PLTW); Mr. David Burns, Director of STEM Innovation Networks at Battelle Education; Dr. Diana J. Briars, President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM); and Mark Greenlaw, Vice President of Strategy and Impact, FIRST. Professionals from organizations like NASA, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Clinic, Carnegie Science Center, Great Lakes Science Center, and Case Western Reserve University have given demonstrations and talks about their research, services, and products at STEMCON.
Q: You’ve recently announced the 5th annual STEMCON; could you tell us something more?
A: We are holding the 5th annual STEMCON in Chicago for the first time this year — it has been held in Cleveland in prior years — and we anticipate the new location will attract even more attendees and professionals. Our theme this year is “Powering the Future in the Windy City” because STEMCON is in Chicago, the “Windy City,” and we know STEM will power the future through education. The conference has also expanded to include a well-known keynote speaker every year; guest speakers and exhibitors; 40 breakout sessions; hands-on workshops and curriculum bursts. The 2018 STEMCON session topics include 21st Century Skills, Thinking Forward, Project-Based Learning, STEM Education for STEM Careers, Outdoor Learning with STEM, and Diversity in STEM Education. We are seeking exhibitors in the fields of coding, virtual reality, 3D Printing, drones, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.
Q: Could you tell us more about registration and pricing?
A: We offer an early bird rate at $200 per registration until December 31st, which increases to $225 after that date. The registration fee includes the full-day conference, a keynote address, a vendor exhibition, breakfast buffet, plated lunch, refreshments throughout the day, and downloadable presentations after the conference.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: To continue growing our attendees nationally, expanding our curriculum offerings, and to host regional area conferences by 2020 in addition to the national competition in Chicago, Illinois.
Q: Tell us something about Sponsorship Opportunities and Exhibitor Opportunities?
A: STEMCON has many sponsorship opportunities and levels, including:
1. A logo/link on STEMCON website, advertising spot in the conference program, free registration for sponsor representatives, putting promotional materials in conference bags, sponsoring refreshment breaks, and WiFi sponsorship.
2. Exhibitors purchase a table in our exhibition area for $500 with complimentary registration for the representative and also have the option of submitting a proposal for a hands-on workshop opportunity. Check out all the Sponsorship Opportunities and the sponsorship levels inclusions.