Vital Link’s Sixth Annual STEM & the Arts Career Showcase

Vital Link held its annual STEM & the Arts Career Showcase on April 21st, 22nd, and 23rd at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. This was held in partnership with O.C. Fair Imaginology’s Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead, a family-friendly event for all ages that features exhibits and showcases in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

The American Heart Association’s CPR Exhibit at the STEM & the Arts Career Showcase.

Friday, April 21st, was field trip day, where over 600 high school and middle school students from around Orange County attended the STEM & the Arts Career Showcase and Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead. Throughout the day, students explored the exhibits that Vital Link, local businesses, and Orange County colleges had on display.

My Dream Career Competition Grand Prize Winner Dana Lee, El Toro High School

The event included a range of industries and paths, such as a 3D Printer Exhibit from Airwolf 3D, furniture prototypes and clay demos from The Art Institute of California, and make-up and hair styling sessions at Saddleback College Beauty Academy’s exhibit.

Students also attended one of three speaker series events, where talented industry professionals presented in the field of Digital Media Arts, Medical, or Engineering.

The Digital Media Arts speakers were Matthew Everitt, CEO of the new television dance show, World of Dance, Jay R. Salenga, a Freelance Motion Designer and Video Editor, and Mitch Guerra, Vice-President of Marketing at Continuity Consulting, Inc. The Medical breakout session included Jeffrey Thomas, a doctor specializing in Internal Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and Michele Stagnaro, Practice Manager at Woodbridge Walk-In Urgent Care. The speaker series concluded with presentations in the Engineering field from Mark Arenal, General Manager at Starrett Kinemetric Engineering, and Richard Dantes and Greg Maisch, Product Development Engineers at Starrett Kinemetric Engineering.

The weekend continued with exciting competitions, many exhibits, and numerous awards ceremonies. This included the VEX Robotics Build & Compete, the MiniMAKEathon, a live Fashion show, the Digital Media Arts ceremony, My Dream Career Competition ceremony, the Rescue Robotics Design Review, and the Energy Invitational Design Review.

Teams of high school and middle school students in the VEX Robotics competition race to collect racquetballs.

The Digital Media Arts competition had winners in Animation (Jesse Van Norman – Trabuco Hills HS), Digital Photography (Serena Yu – Northwood HS), Graphic Design (Rachel Tufono – Coastline Community College), and Web Design (Carl Espe – Northwood HS).

Each competition throughout the weekend focused on a different industry sector, but were equally thrilling by nature.

In the VEX Robotics Build & Compete, 40 teams of middle school and high school students used the robots they built to collect as many racquetballs as possible. Through a series of three-minute heats that lasted throughout the day, schools competed against each other for first prize. The Stock Division had three winning teams – Los Amigos High School, Los Alisos Intermediate, and Lexington Junior High School, while Modified Division first place teams were Lexington Junior High School, Cypress High School, and Buena Park High School.

Each student competition ran throughout the day and concluded with an afternoon awards ceremony.

Overall, the weekend was filled with families and students who explored multiple career options, learned about exciting college pathways, viewed student competitions, and watched the numerous awards ceremonies that celebrated its dedicated students.

Friday’s Speaker Series consisted of presenters in the Digital Media Arts, Engineering, and Medical fields.