AKRON — Sometimes, the best lesson plans burst into flame and go up in smoke.
But that's a good thing. At least, it was on April 6, when Goodyear and the University of Akron partnered to present the 20th annual STEM Career Day, inviting hundreds of high school students from across the Northeast Ohio area to explore science- and math-related careers.
Throughout the day, students could participate in hands-on experiments and talk with professionals about career opportunities. In addition to meeting Goodyear professionals from human resources and tire engineering, students had the chance to talk with those representing the Cleveland Cavaliers, Microsoft Corp. and the University of Akron
The university offered tours of the campus and had students and professors on hand to answer questions about STEM-related disciplines at the school. Meanwhile, "Professor Polymer" gave presentations that allowed students to explore various forms of chemical reactions.
Microsoft gave participants insights into the advancement of artificial intelligence, and a Rube Goldberg Challenge offered the chance to build wacky contraptions that accomplish simple tasks such as opening an umbrella or applying a bandage. Grant awards were given to those who showcased the best designs.
Goodyear noted that more than 250 University of Akron students and Goodyear volunteers helped to present the event.
"This year marks Goodyear's 20th year STEM Career Day outreach, and we are excited to continue our mission of inspiring and opening doors to careers for local students through this event, as well as several other outreach programs worldwide," said Brandy Moorhead, Goodyear's director of global off-highway product development and executive sponsor of STEM Career Day. "Our high school event was a great success, and we're looking forward to our flagship event with over 500 middle school students on May 4."
Goodyear's STEM Career Day for middle school students will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 4 at the Firestone Community Learning Center. That event is expected to draw around 1,000 students, who will have the chance to attend a career fair, participate in hands-on learning opportunities with local organizations and work together on group activities.
More information about both events can found at goodyear.com/careerday.
The first STEM education event hosted by Goodyear in 1999 was intended to inspire female middle and high school students considering careers in math- and science-related fields. Roughly 300 attended that first event to meet with professionals and learn more about engineering disciplines.
Goodyear expanded the event in 2012 to include male students and gave it the Goodyear Engineering Career Day moniker. Three years later, the event grew to include all the fields of STEM.
In 2018, Goodyear extended its STEM education focus with an event in Luxembourg modeled after the Rube Goldberg Machine component of the U.S. career day event. There, attendees ages 14 to 21 were challenged to move a load of model tires with an inflatable Goodyear Blimp during the December program. The top 10 teams are scheduled to demonstrate their machines for final judging in July.
Goodyear employees host workshops during the biannual Luxembourg Science Festival, promoting science and research to hundreds of participating students.