UM’s STEAM Fest to Connect High School Students with Role Models

February 15, 2017

MISSOULA – Over 700 Montana high school students will log in to STEAM Fest, a free, distance-learning career fair presented by the University of Montana’s We Are Montana in the Classroom initiative Feb. 28 through March 2.

With the goal of inspiring students about the array of opportunities that await them in higher education and the work force, STEAM Fest will engage students with role models in science, technology, entrepreneurship, arts and mathematics.

STEAM Fest’s five distance-learning sessions include:

Tuesday, Feb. 28

  • 10:15-11 a.m.: “Wildlife Biology from Montana to Malaysia,” Jedediah Brodie, UM Wildlife Biology Program, and Nick DeCesare, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
  • 1-1:45 p.m.: “Brains and Biomedical Careers,” Genevieve Lind, UM Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and David Burkhart, Inimmune.

Wednesday, March 1

  • 10:15-11 a.m.: “Building with Biomaterials,” Monica Serban, UM Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Tyler Smith, Rivertop Renewables.
  • 1-1:45 p.m.: “Biomechanics and Human Performance,” Matt Bundle, UM Department of Health and Human Performance, and Meg Fisher, Alpine Physical Therapy.

Thursday, March 2

  • 10:15-11 a.m.: “Take Flight with a Drone,” Jonathan Byers, UM Department of Geography, and Jaylene Naylor, UM Office of Autonomous Aerial Systems.

An initiative of the UM Broader Impacts Group, We Are Montana in the Classroom engages over 10,000 K-12 students with UM faculty and graduate student role models each year.

According to BIG Director Holly Truitt, who oversees We Are Montana in the Classroom, the initiative is designed “to put K-12 students on the fast track to higher education and fulfilling careers by connecting them with inspirational role models who are eager to share their passion for learning and exploring with the next generation.”

We Are Montana in the Classroom is partnering with Inspired Classroom, a Missoula-based distance-learning technology company, to connect with students in rural and tribal communities across Montana through live video-conferencing. STEAM Fest’s live sessions are now fully booked, but links to recordings of the sessions will be available to teachers following the event.

For more information about STEAM Fest or We Are Montana in the Classroom’s array of free programming for K-12 students, email Nathalie Wolfram, BIG associate director, at .


Contact: Nathalie Wolfram, associate director, UM Broader Impacts Group, 406-243-4828,