Close to 800 individuals convened at the Davis Conference Center for the 5th annual STEM Best Practices conference. Participants learned strategies for increasing STEM engagement across all student populations, particularly those who are underrepresented in STEM fields.

The conference kicked off with a panel of experts who discussed the challenges, and innovative solutions, to broadening participation in STEM areas through increased diversity, inclusion, access and equity.

“The STEM Best Practices conference is one of our favorite events of the year,” Dr. Tami Goetz, director of the Utah STEM Action Center said. “It gives us a chance to provide resources to Utah educators and celebrate all of the hard work, passion and commitment that they bring to our students.”

The daylong conference highlighted successful STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning practices in Utah’s K-12 schools, including the recognition of newly designated STEM Schools. Numerous breakout session opportunities — led by educators, scientists and non-profit organizations — with an emphasis on hands-on and project-based learning for grades K-12 grades, allowed educators to network with other educators and members of the Utah STEM community.

Community partners exhibited various STEM education resources and showed their support for Utah educators through in-kind donations and donating giveaway items.

“The support from company partners, such as Marathon, increases the STEM Action Center’s ability to reach more students and create innovative programs that help Utah students to dream big, and do big,” said Allison Spencer, director of the Utah STEM Foundation.