13 Nov

Day One of STEAM Fest a Glimpse Into Careers, Opportunities


A mix of art, science and math that kicked off day one of STEAM fest, a four-day experience that combines interactive demonstrations, speakers and employer panelists at HCC.

“I actually thought I wouldn’t be any good at math,” said HCC alum and current Mount Holyoke student Sarah McNamara. “Even though I started here (HCC) in the nursing program, I fell in love with statistics.”

That love of statistics led McNamara to apply for a full scholarship to Mount Holyoke at the urging of her HCC professors. “Get to know your professors.” McNamara said. “Maintain relationships with them. They are here to help and encourage you.” After receiving her scholarship, McNamara went on to create her own degree program in data analytics.

McNamara’s presentation, Data in Crime Rates, used applied mathematics to determine whether race, age, gender and ethnicity played a role in the number of solved homicides from 1980 to 2014. To do this, McNamara looked at data provided by the FBI and filtered in her own analytics. “What I found is that correlation does not equal causation.” McNamara said.

The second featured speaker, HCC alum, Rob Fichtner, presented on the benefits of solar technology and applied science in critical thinking. “My math classes at HCC were invaluable.” Fichtner said. “STEAM skills were not only beneficial for my interests, but eventual employment.”

A self-published writer, army veteran and aspiring teacher, Fichtner gave insight to where the solar technology field may be heading and advice to HCC students seeking a career in engineering and technology.  “Take advantage of the programs and opportunities you have at HCC.” Fichtner said. “Math is used all the time at my job and most others.”

Day one of STEAM fest concluded with Chemistry of Art, a presentation on the day to day of art conservators, archivists and engineers. Guest speaker and art conservationist Sarah Barack, showed detailed before and after photos of what the restoration process looks like to a piece of art that has been deemed damaged or in need of repair. By using technology such as a CT (CAT) scan, Barack showed images of rare art pieces thought to be genuine, revealed to be a mix of unauthentic reproductions as well as what the original should look like.

“You need to think like an artist, an engineer and an appraiser.” Barack said of her career in art conservationism. For many in attendance, day one of STEAM fest showed just how diverse and exciting STEAM-based careers can be.

Day two of STEAM fest beings at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Beacon Hall Event Center.

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