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July 11, 2018 | Tom Ballard

Ask a Scientist hosting first ever STEAMcon later this month

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

A multi-institution student organization founded in 2012 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and committed to promoting STEAM-focused community outreach is planning a two-day event at the end of the month here in Knoxville.

No doubt our readers are very familiar with the term STEM which describes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Add the letter “A” for arts, and you have the meaning of STEAM.

“We’re showcasing companies and local groups involved in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” Callie Goetz says of the appropriately named STEAMcon event. She’s the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of a not-for-profit organization named Ask a Scientist, and the group’s UTK chapter is hosting the showcase July 28 and 29 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

The local chapter is the most active among a number located at various colleges and universities such as the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Alabama Birmingham.

“We’re inviting ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), various tech companies, and local artists to showcase what they do and provide a chance for the public to better understand STEAM,” Goetz told us. “It will be mostly exhibits with some programs.”

The Nashville native and two other graduate students founded the organization with a three-fold mission:

  • Connect with the general public in a considerate, welcoming and informative manner, and connect those in need of expertise with collaborative support;
  • Inspire young students and the public to take part in science and research and encourage a more inclusive scientific community; and
  • Advocate for science communication improvement and outreach throughout the community.

STEAMcon is the organization’s first organized large scale undertaking, and Goetz has recruited the Knoxville Zoo for some programming and the Knoxville Ice Bears to explain the physics of hockey.

“We have about 20 vendors already signed-up,” she added. The term applies to those who want to showcase what they are doing in the STEAM area. “We are also looking for sponsors.”

Those interested in either showcasing or sponsoring can click here to learn more about those opportunities. There’s also a sponsorship flyer (STEAMcon sponsor_flier) and the program flyer (STEAMcon flyer).

Admission is free, and the event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Those interested in learning more can contact Goetz at

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