This week the Atlanta Science Festival offered a variety of events scattered across the city to indulge the curiosity of students young and old. As a self-admitted nerd, I was delighted to attend an event last night with the company of my 9 year old brother.

Prompted by his 3rd grade studies of space, my brother and I took full advantage of the festival by attending an open house at Agnes Scott College’s Bradley Observatory. The evening was hosted by the Astronomy Department, and visitors were able to learn about moon phases, view a planetarium show (my favorite part!), and tour the telescope tower amongst other science activities.

As we worked our way through the activity stations, I was thrilled to see my brother enhance his knowledge of the cosmos through such a fun community-based event. It is not every day that a student gets to engage professionals who work in unique areas such as astronomy. My brother really seemed to benefit from the opportunity to ask the professors as many questions as he could. Likewise, conversations with the undergraduate tour guides were a highlight for me. Hearing one student’s aspiration to work for NASA and another student’s study of life in space, I secretly hoped this experience planted a seed of interest in my brother.

Beyond looking through a telescope, my evening at the observatory emphasized the continuing need to spark interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In the context of the College and Career Pathways initiative, this is particularly vital as America’s economy becomes more rooted in technical and specialized industries. Events such the Atlanta Science Festival are incredibly important as they not only offer early exposure to the careers of the future, but also facilitate partnerships that benefit schools, businesses, and families alike.

(If you would like to take part in Atlanta Science Week yourself, don’t miss Exploration Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center!)

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