Clippers SciFest SoCal science fair aims to inspire kids to choose STEM careers

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Scientists are bringing STEM to Southern California! The first ever Clippers SciFest SoCal is at the L.A. Convention Center, hoping to get more kids interested in studying science, technology, engineering and math. The USA Science and Engineering Festival runs the two-day event, where thousands of kids will see science up close.

Exhibitors say fun, hands-on and interactive demonstrations - like ones showing how liquid nitrogen can make popcorn and ice cream foam - are a great way to make science come alive.

Sarah Carroll, 26, is a space systems operation leader at Raytheon. Here, there are hundreds of interactive exhibits like hers, where kids can learn how to create a uniquely designed "Moon Shot Straw Rocket."

Other exhibits have demonstrations on everything from robotics to chemistry to forensic science.

Kára McCullough is a former Miss USA who pursued her education in science. Today, she's a scientist working with nuclear reactors. But as a child, she didn't have a lot of access to educational resources.

But with hard work and persistence, she began to excel in math. For this reason, she started an outreach program called "Science Exploration for Kids" in the hopes of getting more girls to pursue leadership roles in science

"Education is what's going to give you the next big push in life," McCullough said.

Women are vastly underrepresented in STEM careers. In fact, in the U.S., men outnumber women in most science, technology, engineering and math careers. A recent survey found women occupy just 17 percent of chemical engineers, and only 22 percent of environmental scientists are women.

So getting kids interested in science at a young age is a big objective.

The Clippers SciFest SoCal is open to the public on Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is free.
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