Montana STEMfest to Engage Students with UM Scientists and Local Professionals

October 16, 2015

MISSOULA – University of Montana faculty members and graduate students will pair up with local professionals for Montana STEMfest, an all-digital event showcasing educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 19-20.

Through interactive video conferencing with high school students, presenters will lead discussions about their research and share some of their career-shaping experiences. More than 500 students from over 50 classrooms across Montana will join the two-day festival and video recordings of each session will be available to teachers and schools after the event.

STEMfest includes nine, 50-minute interactive sessions:

Monday, Oct. 19

  • 9-9:50 a.m.: “Chemistry at Work,” Reuben Darlington (Sunburst Sensors) and Mike DeGrandpre (UM)
  • 10-10:50 a.m.: “Reliving the History of Life,” NASA and Frank Rosenzweig (UM)
  • 11-11:50 a.m.: “Biomass, Chemistry and the Future of Sustainable Products,” Stacy Jackson and Michaela Davenport (Blue Marble Biomaterials) and Franny Gilman (UM)
  • 1-1:50 p.m.: “Montana Ecosystems on Land and in Water,” Paul Parson (Trout Unlimited) and Whisper Camel-Means (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Wildlife Management Program)
  • 2-2:50 p.m.: “Combining Games, Coding and Careers,” Josh Hughes (Team Kaizen Games) and Tom Gallagher (UM)

Tuesday, Oct. 20

  • 9-9:50 a.m.: “Exercise Metabolism, Strength and Recovery,” Jennifer LaForest (Community Medical Center Physical Therapy) and Brent Ruby (UM)
  • 10-10:50 a.m.: “Merging Science and Renewable Resources through Biochemistry,” Tyler Smith (Rivertop Renewables) and Brian Kerns (UM)
  • 11-11:50 a.m.: “The Physics of Design,” Jackie Bull (CTA Architects) and Mark Reiser (UM)
  • 2-2:50 p.m.: “Technology and Communication,” Paul Gladen and Devin Holmes (Montana Code School) and Shannon Hinds Furniss (UM)

Each STEMfest session will begin with a recorded message from Gov. Steve Bullock as he shares his vision for STEM education in Montana.

Montana STEMfest is a collaboration between Missoula College, We Are Montana in the Classroom and Inspired Classroom.

The event is coordinated by the Energy Technology Program at Missoula College and co-organized by We Are Montana in the Classroom, a program of the UM Broader Impacts Group that brings higher education role models into K-12 classrooms throughout the state. This autumn, We Are Montana in the Classroom reached over 1,700 students in the Missoula area and on the UM president’s “We Are Montana” tour.

Inspired Classroom, a Missoula-based company that brings learners together through video conferencing, curriculum development, and green screen technology, will facilitate and broadcast the Montana STEMfest.

Supported by the National Science Foundation, UM and VisionNet, Montana STEMfest is part of the national STEM Career Accelerator Day.

STEM Fest’s live sessions are now fully booked, but teachers can request copies of the recorded sessions by emailing Inspired Classroom’s Alli DePuy at or visiting

They can also learn more about the array of free programs offered through We Are Montana in the Classroom by emailing program manager Nathalie Wolfram at

Contact: Bradley Layton, Missoula College UM Energy Technology Program director, 406-243-7865,; Nathalie Wolfram, We Are Montana in the Classroom program manager, 406-370-7731,