Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba speaks on Wednesday at the Mississippi Science Fest press conference at the Mississippi Children’s Musueum. Image: Mary Alice Thigpen

Special to Find It In Fondren®

The 2017 MS Science Fest (MSF) presented by C Spire, launches September 22-23rd in Jackson, Mississippi’s LeFleur Museum District (LMD).

Leaders from all four museums of the LMD have organized the event to showcase the Magnolia State’s innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) industries and organizations.

LMD President and Executive Director of Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum Aaron Rodgers states, “The LeFleur Museum District is incredibly excited to host the first annual Mississippi Science Fest. As educators, historians, and scientists, we feel it is exceedingly important to promote STEM initiatives and activities that inspire the next generation of Mississippi innovators, engineers and visionaries.”

The Mississippi Science Fest aims to engage students, families, adults and educators in a fun and interactive environment providing science education, workforce development and a glimpse into Mississippi’s future. MSF will offer special exhibitors, events and programs that celebrate STEM and illustrate the vital role that Mississippians serve in these fields.

STEM-themed field trips to each museum will be held on Friday, September 22nd. That evening at 6 p.m., Apollo 13 Astronaut and Mississippi native, Fred Haise will present our keynote address, open to the public, at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. The festival will also include an Ag Tech Hackathon and a ticketed celebratory event Saturday night, Discovery Night: Journey to Space at the Mississippi Children’s Museum.  A full schedule of activities for the festival and tickets can be found at mssciencefest.org. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of September 23rd at any participating museum.

C Spire, MSF’s presenting sponsor, recognizes the importance of technology education and increasing Mississippi’s digital literacy and technical workforce. “At C Spire, we believe that some of the world’s brightest future scientists, engineers, mathematicians and creative thinkers will come from Mississippi,” said Hu Meena, C Spire CEO. “That’s why we are so excited to present our home state with a festival designed to encourage technology education and inspire our future workforce.”

In 2016, with support and assistance from The Franklin Institute, the Mississippi Children’s Museum piloted the first MS Science Fest. They hosted 23 exhibitors from across the state and saw over 600 visitors to the one-day event. Reflecting on the success, MCM President & CEO, Susan Garrard saw the evident desire from the community for this event, noting, “STEM jobs are the future of Mississippi. The Mississippi Science Fest is a great way to expose children to educational concepts in an exciting and engaging way, as well as provide them examples of STEM-centered career paths they may have not had the opportunity to ever consider.”

This year the festival has been significantly expanded to include events throughout the LMD, which includes the Mississippi Children’s Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.