STEM Excellence at the 2023 West Virginia Makes Festival

Recording this podcast episode at the 2023 West Virginia Makes Festival in Huntington, I find myself immersed in the bustling atmosphere of creativity and innovation. Surrounded by talented individuals like Brett White and Dr. Travis Kahle, it’s hard not to feel inspired by the energy and enthusiasm that permeates the event.

As I start the conversation, I introduce my guests, Brett White and Dr. Travis Kahle, both actively engaged in showcasing and promoting STEM education and innovation.

Brett White, shares his excitement about unveiling the Raspberry Pi 5 for the first time in the United States! His enthusiasm is palpable as he describes the device and its potential impact on the tech community. It’s evident that hands-on learning is a key component of Brett’s hustle.

Dr. Travis Kahle, equally passionate about his work, discusses the tools and resources he’s brought from the UC Innovation Center. He emphasizes the importance of exposing people to the world of innovation and how they’ve been doing just that at the Makes Festival.

We delve into the purpose of the Makes Festival, with Brett shedding light on its mission to connect makers of all ages, from high school students to adults, with opportunities and resources in engineering, computer science, and education. The event serves as a bridge between education and the professional world, showcasing the endless possibilities in the maker community.

Dr. Travis Kahle eloquently defines what a maker is—a creator who transforms ideas into reality, often through physical means. He emphasizes the wide range of projects on display, from robots and drones to 3D printed creations, all designed to inspire and educate.

Our conversation shifts to the involvement of young minds in the Makes Festival. It’s heartening to see school buses outside, bringing students to witness the projects on display. Brett explains how high schoolers’ projects are showcased to demonstrate what’s possible with funding and support.

Dr. Travis Kahle points out the power of inspiration, revealing how they’re showing students that they can turn their dreams into reality. The festival acts as a beacon of hope for the younger generation, encouraging them to explore STEM fields.

Both guests highlight their ah-ha moments, instances where they saw the spark of curiosity and potential in students. These moments of clarity are what make events like this so important. They provide a platform for knowledge sharing and inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM.

In conclusion, the Makes Festival is a celebration of innovation, creativity, and the power of education. It’s a testament to the endless possibilities that arise when you bring together makers, learners, and educators in one place. Brett and Dr. Travis Kahle exemplify the spirit of the festival, dedicated to fostering a culture of innovation and learning. As the day draws to a close, I can’t help but feel excited about what the future holds for these young minds and the impact they’ll make on the world.

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