Self-eSTEAM Fest

ST. PETERSBURG — Children, tigers and drones, oh my! The children of St. Petersburg got a special treat last month with the Self-eSTEAM Fest, which was a free event that demonstrated interactive displays in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

“It all started with a single idea to help the children in our community,” said Dr. Pamela Love about the festival that took place at St. Petersburg College, Allstate Center.

Dr. Love, a pediatric emergency physician, met with financial manager Nicole Daniels and Dr. Shameka Jones, a pharmacist, to strategize ways to inspire children in grades K-8, particularly those struggling in the five scale-up schools in St. Petersburg, to develop interest in STEAM.

“The goal was to build ‘self-eSTEAM’ and to encourage interest and aspiration in STEAM professions,” said Dr. Love. “Before we knew it, the project gained so much momentum and support and a planning committee formed.”

The event had a larger than anticipated turnout of close to 200 children, exhibitors and sponsors. The kids explored the various areas of the festival and practiced computer coding on iPads, flew drones, built 3-D printer images and learned to count and save their pennies with Springleaf Financial.

The young participants danced with the kiddie dance group Competitive Edge, painted with artists and were inspired to read brand new books provided by the Puller Foundation. A tiger, snake and cockatoo exhibit from the Wildlife Rescue wowed the children, as did a team of first responders complete with a fire truck and a critical care ambulance.

Teens from numerous community groups, such as the SPC Center of Excellence and the Kappa League volunteered for the event.

Prizes won by the children included free admission to Shorecrest Summer Camp and three computer tablets.

Based upon the looks on everyone’s faces, the Self-eSTEAM Fest was a big hit!

The festival was sponsored by various community groups including the Urban League Young Professionals, the St. Petersburg Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, the City of St. Petersburg and Shorecrest Preparatory School.

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