Check Out STEM Read at the 2020 STEM Fest

For more than 10 years, Northern Illinois University’s STEM Fest has introduced thousands of visitors of all ages to the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math. This year STEM Fest is going virtual with more than 20 online events, videos and activities, and the STEM Read Team is excited to announce that we have two amazing virtual live events lined up this year!

Join us for Dreaming and Making: STEAM Stories to Inspire Young Readers. STEM Read director Gillian King-Cargile will interview authors Kelly Starling Lyons (Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon, The Jada Jones chapter book series) and Amy Alznauer (The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity) for a discussion about creativity, art, and the amazing STEAM-thinkers who inspired some of their latest books. They’ll also share fun, hands-on, at-home activities to help readers learn more about the STEAM concepts behind the stories. After the discussion, the authors will be available for a text-based Q&A session.

This month’s Future Telling Webinar, Fear of First Contact: How Science and Fiction Inform Our Search for Alien Life will be presented as a part of the STEM Fest lineup at 6pm on Wednesday October 21st. Join authors Daniel Kraus (Bent Heavens, The Shape of Water) and Patrick S. Tomlinson (Gate Crashers, In the Black) along with experts in cosmology and sci-fi history as they explore how science fiction and cosmic horror have shaped our ideas about extraterrestrial life. They’ll also share how researching everything from Earth’s microscopic extremophiles to radiation left over from the big bang helps scientists theorize whether we’re alone in the universe!

Be sure to register at so you don’t miss out on these great STEM Read virtual events!

STEM Read isn’t the only team bringing you amazing virtual presentations this year! STEM-related events will be hosted by NIU departments throughout the month, including esports community tournaments on Oct. 2 and 23, and a sneak peak of the STEAM Studio Minecraft workshop. Check out for updates and new additions.

Virtual STEM Fest events will be presented in three ways:

  • Maker Mondays: Weekly videos aimed primarily at teens and young adults with a focus on STEM Careers. Each video interview with a STEM expert is followed by a hands-on activity.
  • STEM Fest Cafés: Live webinars every Wednesday evening with STEM experts. Fun science talks introduce viewers to reptiles and amphibians, the science behind haunted houses and more.
  • STEM Saturdays: Weekly workshops – online and in-person – provide hands-on STEM learning. Various options are designed for young people in grades 3-12 and their families.

On Oct. 31, STEM Fest end the month with a live virtual celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The celebration will include four hours, five online rooms, dozens of videos, live chats with experts and live-streaming demo shows.

Highlights on Oct. 31 include:

  • Haunted STEAM Lab: Explore the spooky, slimy, not-so-scary side of STEM with live demonstrations and fun science videos.
  • Huskie Hall: Hear how our Huskies are leading the pack in STEM research and exploration. Live and recorded sessions feature the research and artistry happening at NIU.
  • STEM Quest: Connect with STEM experts and organizations to explore STEM careers, chat with experts and see how STEM careers impact the world.
  • Livestreamed Demo Shows: STEM Fest is not STEM Fest without our high energy science demonstrations! Watch our livestream demos scheduled throughout the day.  

See the full schedule at

Check out this STEM Fest video with NIU President Lisa Freeman to learn more.