Thermo Fisher workshop encourages STEM education, careers

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- More than 300 middle and high school students students came out to train for STEM competitions at the Thermo Fisher workshop.

Scientists and researchers from Thermo Fisher helped students learn about things like protein modeling, cell biology, and flight physics.

Today's workshop, at Rock Valley College, had interactive sessions to help students prepare for future Olympiad competitions.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration says too few students are prepared to fill STEM positions, with only 25 percent of high school seniors scoring at or above the proficient level in math and 22 percent scoring at or above proficient in science.

"We wanna inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. There's a lot of problems facing the world. Who's going to get us to Mars? Who's going to solve the hunger problem? Who's going to stop cancer death? Maybe it's someone in this room," said workshop publicity lead Caleb Shearrow.

Experts estimate that STEM occupations will grow by 8.9 percent from 2014 to 2024, compared to 6.4 percent growth for non-STEM occupations