STEMtastic Day of Discovery wins Best Educational Event

2015 WINNER

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 7, 2015) – The Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA) recently announced the winners of its annual SUNsational Awards during its 21st annual convention and tradeshow. Nominations were accepted in nine categories, including Printed Materials; Outdoor Advertisement; PR / Media Campaign; Photo; Promotional Item; T-shirt; Broadcast Media; Multimedia Marketing and Programming. Each category included three budget levels. First-place award winners include:

Educational Program: Edison Festival of Light

For a full list of winners, including second and third place award recipients, visit www.ffea.com/sunsational-awards.

Nominations were judged by a blue ribbon panel representing media outlets, printing companies, website designers, photographers, promotional marketing professionals and social media experts. “The SUNsational Awards have recognized and celebrated the talents of our members for more than
two decades,” said Suzanne Neve, Executive Director of the FFEA.”“This year, we added several new categories and received our highest volume of submissions to date. We’re proud of our members and their events – and excited to recognize them in this way each year.”

About STEMtastic Day of Discovery:
By providing the opportunity for community members to experience new initiatives in the realm of education, the Edison Festival of Light is helping to keep the inventiveness and spirit of Thomas Alva Edison’s legacy alive. A strong Edison Festival of Light sponsor, FPL, is focused on education so it is important that we are able to maintain the mission of the Festival to continue Thomas Edison’s inventive focus while fulfilling the desires of a loyal sponsor to foster science related education in the local region.

In the past, the Edison Festival of Light event was entitled Day of Discovery. With the understanding that the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools was trying to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education through the same avenues, we formed a partnership to optimize resources, experience, and help grow the initiative. The partnership came at a time when the Foundation’s event, STEMtastic, was outgrowing their current location. In order to enhance each organization’s strengths and maximize student involvement, the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Edison Festival of Light began planning what turned into STEMtastic Day of Discovery.

Overall, the goal was to promote STEM education in the Fort Myers community and introduce students and families to fun and exciting opportunities through education and careers involving the different initiatives. It is important to focus on the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) because it teaches valuable skills and knowledge that are essential for student growth and success. Rather than teaching the four disciplines as separate subjects, STEM integrates them into a close-knit archetype that provides the opportunity for real-world application.

In 2009, the Obama administration began the Educate to Innovate campaign that aimed to inspire students to shine in STEM subjects. According to projections, by 2018 it is estimated that there will be a need for 8.65 million workers in STEM-related jobs (STEMconnector.org). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, the bulk of STEM career opportunities will consist of computing, traditional engineering, physical sciences, life sciences and mathematics. Jobs within the STEM field also pay about twenty-six percent higher than jobs in a non-STEM related career, with a bachelor’s degree.

Seeing as the Fort Myers area was ranked the seventh worst area for the science and technology workforce (Wallet Hub), it is important to expose students in this area to STEM fields in order to build awareness and offer private industry opportunities to develop talented students for jobs. The curriculum also shows students how to apply STEM to everyday issues and helps them to pursue employment in the field.