KEYSER - Whether it's petting a snake, firing a potato gun or driving a robot, Saturday's STEM Festival turned young and old alike into kids again.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Whether it’s petting a snake, firing a potato gun or driving a robot, Saturday’s STEM Festival turned young and old alike into kids again.
In its sixth year, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Festival continues to grow and feature an expanded view of the many elements that effect daily life and how they relate to STEM.
Displays filled five buildings on the Potomac State College campus along with outside activities on the quad by the PSC Engineering Club and the Equine Program.
From human anatomy to germs to bugs that are good for the garden, the hands-on activities were designed to get students and their parents thinking.
While everyone knows that smoking is dangerous for your health, Dr. Jerry Wilcox gave visitors a firsthand look at the kind of damage smoking can do to healthy lungs.
Next door in Science Hall, Connor Roessler of the Cacapon Institute had a model of the environment and shared about how pollutants affect the ecosystem. He explained that trees help to clean the air, but that humans need to be aware of how what they do every day impacts the environment and especially the water systems, which are crucial for life.
From air and water to reaching for the stars, participants could also learn more about astronomy and the solar system including making moon sand.
Science is constantly evolving from Rubik’s cubes to cryptography and the science of fingerprints.
Technology now will fit in a watch or a phone and these advances are lending themselves to advanced robotics projects with movement, light sound and the ability to interact with others.
Drones offer a variety of opportunities for exploration and participants had the chance to discover how precise and detailed the drones can be.
As students looked at the variety of areas, they were encouraged to think about their futures. Many area businesses were set up in the Davis Hall Conference Center with ideas of the jobs in this area and the training and education needed.
Sponsors this year included the West Virginia Extension Service, Potomac State College of West Virginia University, Mineral County Schools, Orbital ATK, WV Division of Forestry, DEP. Mineral County Family Resource Network, 4-H, Boggs Supply, Western Maryland Health System, E&S Fabrics, Farm Credit, Coca-Cola, PNC, Community Trust Foundation and Automated Packaging Systems.