The InterMountain Education Service District (IMESD) has served the children of Eastern Oregon since 1863. Their service extends to almost 23,000 students in 18 school districts throughout a four-county service area - Umatilla, Morrow, Union, and Baker counties. One of IMESD’s overall programs is called STEP, Student Technology Expanded Programs. STEP is developed through a grant from the Oregon Department of Education. This grant allows for the program to offer the spring Technology Expo that Eastern Oregon University (EOU) recently hosted. In its second year, the Expo’s attendance nearly doubled as 15 of the 18 component school districts were represented in the nearly 200 students on March 8th.
Students from grades 8th through 12th were able to attend 6 of the 15 sessions offered in various locations across EOU’s campus. Some of these sessions include: 3D animation, 3D printing, taking apart and diagnosing computer component issues, website development, computer programing, app development, breakout boxes and more. Students from Umatilla middle school and Athena-Weston high school agreed that the 3D printing was their favorite station saying, “It was really cool!”
As K12 students get closer to graduation, events like this Expo are helpful in narrowing down interests and career choices without the overwhelming pressure to make the right choice. A local junior student said, “I’m planning to go into Computer Science to be a web designer...I learned more about the programs that they’re going to need and where I should go.” Michele Madril, IMESD director of communication and print solutions agrees saying, “Tech Expo is a great opportunity for students from across Eastern Oregon to learn about technology options for careers right here in our region, plus be engaged with interactive sessions on a variety of subjects. We are very appreciative of our partnership this year with EOU and all they have done to make this event possible.” When various organizations unite for the betterment of our youth, good things happen.
For more information about the Expo or STEP programs, visit the STEP website at http://step.imesd.org.