Explore Event Captures Attention, Imaginations

Cody at Explore Event 2017

The night was about variety in people, vendors, career fields, and experiences.

ROSEBURG, Oregon – The 10th Annual Explore Engineering, Surveying, Forestry, Computing and Computer Science Night at Umpqua Community College (UCC) certainly captured imaginations. While the majority of the people who attended the event on March 15 were high school and college age, the gamut ran from 60 year-olds curious about a second career to area students as young as 10 thinking about a high-tech future. Age range aside, everyone who attended the event had a love of, or at least a curiosity for, some type of technology.

“I came to this event in high school and for sure it cemented my interest in civil engineering,” UCC alum Cody Stone said. “I graduated from UCC last year, and now I’m at Oregon State getting ready to go out on my first civil engineering internship with ODOT in Salem.”

The night was about variety in people, vendors, career fields, and experiences. Dads were caught up in surveying and drafting new roads using computers, while their sons wore a shy smile at the thought of charting new growth on timber land. If forestry, drafting, or engineering didn’t create a spark, writing computer code at Oregon Institute of Technology or designing rotor blades for a mini wind turbine with a little help from UCC’s Engineering Club did.

For many, the evening made the impossible seem possible. While visiting with a 16-year-old girl, Ellen Momsen, the Director of Women and Minorities in Engineering at Oregon State University, explained the commitment higher education has made to increase the number of women and minorities in engineering through summer camps and other opportunities.

“This isn’t something we just all talk about,” Momsen said. “It’s something we actively champion.”

Wonder, excitement, and curiosity flowed through and around UCC’s gym. No one stood still for long. There was so much to see, touch, and experience. Tech, science, math, physics, computer science, and engineering can be applied to almost anything and everything.

“The best way for students to get excited about these types of careers, and the educational pathways that lead to them, is to talk to the people who are living the careers each and every day,” Clay Baumgartner, the event organizer and UCC Department Chair, said.

By the end of the night, the passion and drive of over 150 exhibitors impacted attendees. One thing is certain—the future will be driven by science and math. Different vehicles will be on the “tech highway,” but they’ll all be using the same roadmap.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.

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