Group Creates New Minn. STEM Initiative

Updated: 08/31/2013 12:40 PM By: Josh Rosenthal

"I also know how to make some pretty basic programs in JavaScript too," explained 9-year-old Nicholas Czaia Feider while connecting a wire to an alligator clip. He's at summer camp, but he won't be playing sports or roasting marshmallows.

Czaia's mom, Melinda, chimed in: "last year he, he cried actually because, I shouldn't say this but, because he found out that he wasn't going to get to do physics until 11th grade."

In other words, a typical summer camp wouldn't work for Nicholas, and that's why he's at the Summer Science Day Camp at the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis. It's one of a growing number of activities across the state geared toward science, technology, engineering, and math - or STEM - interests.

A newly formed group -- started by Wilder Research and Boston Scientific -- wants more kids to join in.

"We as a company and we as a state, being a high-tech med device state, really need their talent as a part of our economy," explained Marilee Grant of Boston Scientific.

The STEM group created a website that will eventually aim to identify Minnesota's needs, and tell parents and students how to fulfill them.

"It's really important for us to open up that pipeline, get more kids engaged, get them excited, more diverse talent, and get them into the workforce eventually," Grant said.

That's just fine with Nicholas, who's already looking ahead to his future.

"I don't know. I might be a programmer or a technician," he pondered. "Maybe an astrophysicist."