STEM students showcase their talent

CREATED May 7, 2013 - UPDATED: May 7, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - It's a congregation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) minds at the Milwaukee Public Schools STEM Partners Spring Student Showcase. And while the projects presented are just student projects, the minds behind them may just be getting a jump start on their future careers.

TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka spoke with many of the students about their aspirations.

"I am looking forward to becoming an architectural engineer," Riverside University High School sophomore Hasan Hayer declared.

Jose Marco at Gaenslen School tells Ritka he’s already planning his path past eighth grade.

"I hope to stay in engineering, make a living out of it, go to high school, go to college," he said.

And the spark plug to the teenagers’ goals can be found at the showcase where hands-on projects get students to look past numbers and equations.

"You can see all the different fields of engineering, science and you sort of know what to expect from all these kids in the future," Raymond Koski explains.

The freshman at Bradley Tech is helping construct a modern racing motorcycle;

"We're basically working on framework right now," Koski details.

Jose Marco, two seventh graders and a fifth grader worked together to design a solar mini-car using a 3D printer.

"We tried to make it as light weight as possible, fast, torque," he said.

Their solar car took first place at a University of Wisconsin engineering expo, as many of the projects in the showcase were propelled by contests and competitions to help entice kids to be a part of the programs outside of the classroom.

"We just need to spark these kids, get a little bit of interest then they get a direction," Bradley Tech mentor Mark Hoedel explains. “We realized there's a need to get our kids involved and working with their hands, we're losing them to joysticks and keyboards and we're losing them to the trades.”

But through STEM programs and with the help of partners in the community to help assist the young minds, students are swaying back toward the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Hasan Hayer wants other students to not be scared by those fields,

"People always think science, technology ooh big numbers, different equations; it's not all about that at all," he explained.

For Hayer, it’s about fun as well as high flying expectations.

“We're growing in a society where nowadays IT, technology and science are a big role in today’s economy and community,” he continued.

Marco agrees and already has his eye on making an impact when he gets to college.

“I hope like in the future that we could make solar cars at UW Madison,” he said.

And he’s sure he has the experience to do it.

“I have the potential," Marco said. "I can do my best, try my best and work my hardest.”

They're hoping all the hard work now, will pay off later.

Learn more about Milwaukee Public Schools and Project Lead the Way, a rigorous hands-on STEM learning program, here.

Schools that offer Project Lead the Way.

Schools that offer Career and Technical Education.