ODEE STEM Events Provide Hands-On Experience for Participants of All Ages

Science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM) related fields are some of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. In fact, the number of STEM jobs could grow 17 percent by 2024, compared to 12 percent for non-STEM jobs.*

Developing interest in and qualified future employees for these areas is one of the goals of the STEM events programming outreach by the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE). Four events fall under ODEE’s management: Cyber Security Day, HackOHI/O (Hackathon), Science Olympiad, and State Science Day. They provide hands-on experience and professional development for students and staff in STEM areas.

“These events most align with ODEE’s learning programs efforts and our outreach,” said Angela Davis, ODEE STEM program manager and events coordinator. “ODEE is the ‘T’ in STEM and through our outreach, we help guide the education and development of these areas within the state.”

Throughout the year, ODEE’s STEM events reach nearly 6,800 people, from middle school students to industry professionals. ODEE also works with a variety of campus organizations, state entities and businesses to host events. So far this year, it has organized, managed or helped assist with two events: Cyber Security Day and HackOHI/O.

More than 500 IT professionals from around campus and the Wexner Medical Center participated in the October 2016 Cyber Security Day. The day-long professional development event, held at the Ohio Union, provided cutting-edge training in the ever-changing IT and cyber security fields. The event was the fifth Cyber Security day and the largest hosted at Ohio State since the event’s inception. Cyber Security Day is a collaboration with the university’s Enterprise Security team and ODEE STEM events staff. 

In November, the events staff provided planning, logistical and marketing support for HackOHI/O, the university’s annual 24-hour hackathon. Hackathons are technical project marathons where student teams go from ideation to prototyping in a single weekend. With the added support of ODEE’s resources and expertise, HackOHI/O continued expanding its mission to establish a strong tech culture on campus and in the community.

After the winter break, the ODEE STEM events staff added two members to help accommodate the increased responsibilities of event planning. The team is now preparing for Ohio Science Olympiad, the state’s premier science and technology competition that allows middle and high school students to exercise their full STEM knowledge base. Ohio Science Olympiad consists of eight regional events, culminating with the state tournament hosted Saturday, April 1, here at Ohio State. The 2016-17 season marks a record-breaking year for the program under ODEE’s tutelage, as the program has registered the most teams in its history (320 teams).

Also new this year is Ohio State representation at the Science Olympiad national level, as Davis was recently named to the national executive board. “I’m looking forward to sharing my ideas on how to tap into different communities, as well as help differentiate Science Olympiad from other STEM activities,” she noted.

The ODEE events staff rounds out their year with State Science Day, a collaboration with the Ohio Academy of Science. This event is the pinnacle of student-originated, inquiry-based science education for more than 1,100 middle and high school students statewide. Ohio State began hosting State Science Day in 2002. ODEE coordinates facilities, volunteers, logistics, supplies, program design and printing, security, parking, and overall support for the event.

“Our event management team’s goal is to look at our events and programs and keep them relevant as STEM industries evolve,” Davis said. “We are constantly analyzing them, refining our processes to make them current and relevant for participants. It’s problem solving and that’s STEM.”

Events such as Cyber Security Day, HackOHI/O, Ohio Science Olympiad and State Science Day are the embodiment of ODEE’s STEM education goals. Through these in-person, hands-on events, ODEE can help influence STEM interest in Ohio and beyond.

* - The State of STEM Education in 10 Statistics

2016 Cyber Security Day Photos

Slideshow 2016 Cyber Security Day

Registration at Cyber Security Day

In between sessions

In between sessions

Waiting for Paula Januszkiewicz

Between sessions during CSD

Paula Januszkiewicz presenting at Cyber Security Day

Kevin Johnson presenting at Cyber Security Day

HackOHI/O 2016 Video Recap



By the Numbers

  • 500 IT professionals
  • From Ohio State and the Wexner Medical Center
  • Largest attended Cyber Security Day in five years

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  • 775 student attendees
  • 26 institutions represented from around the Midwest
  • 47 majors represented
  • 200+ mentors and judges

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  • Eight regions
  • 4,500+ middle and high school students
  • 300+ teams

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  • 1,100 students competing at Ohio State
  • 300+ schools represented
  • 17 state school districts

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