WHITTIER, CA – More than 100 students filled the Whittier High School Library with good-spirited noise last week as they gathered for a half-day of boisterous trivia competitions and other high-energy educational activities, all in the name of STEM.

In conjunction with Edison International and the Great Minds in STEM organization, Whittier High hosted a Viva Technology assembly to expose 120 ninth- and 10th-grade students to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

During the interactive event, held Feb. 23, students participated in several rounds of STEM Jeopardy and heard from a panel of Edison engineers who discussed their journeys toward pursuing and working in the STEM field.

“They have a lot of involvement, fun games and you get to learn about the engineers and hear their stories about how they got involved in science, technology and engineering,” said 10th-grader Kevin Kohn. “They do a really good job of making it fun and interesting.”

Whittier High College and Career Coordinator Rob Cammarata arranged the event. Students selected to participate are the top scholars in their biology, math and engineering classes.

“We work to engage and inspire our next generation of engineers, scientists and mathematicians,” said Danielle Villar of Great Minds in STEM. “These students have already shown that they are knowledgeable and interested in STEM, so now we just have to expose them to the science world and the educational options available to them after high school.”

Edison International sponsored the student assembly and provided the panel, which consisted of Edison engineers.

“The demand for STEM professionals is expected to add more than 1 million STEM jobs in the nation,” said Melissa Amador of Edison International. “We’re here to encourage the future workforce because this is really the wave of the future with technology and we want to see these kids ultimately come back and work for us.”

Although he is still considering what his career plans will be after he graduates, Kevin considers math and science enjoyable and the Viva Technology event enlightening.
“If it’s your thing, it’s a great opportunity to get involved, and even if it’s not, it’s good to learn about,” he said.

Local STEM students from El Camino College, California State University, Los Angeles and California State University, Long Beach served as college captains and peer mentors, guiding their teams through the various challenges.

“This one-of-a-kind Viva Technology program is a great way for students to interact with STEM role models and be exposed to the endless opportunities they have before them,” Principal Lori Eshilian said. “Education is a transformative tool, and we believe that all of our students can excel in academic careers and advance to have a future in STEM fields.”


VIVATECH: Whittier High School students cheer on their teammates as they compete in STEM Jeopardy, an interactive trivia game hosted by Greats Minds in STEM and Edison International on Feb. 23, 2015.