On Tuesday, October 20, 19 institutions of higher learning and 16 STEM businesses and local nonprofits sent representatives to TAF Academy to meet TAF’s students at the TAF Academy College and Career Fair. The Fair is an annual event at TAF Academy, but this year’s was by far the school’s largest and most attended event of this kind. Over a two and a half hour period, all 283 of TAF’s 6th-12th grade students circulated the Totem Middle School gymnasium and asked questions about college and career paths in STEM. For our juniors and seniors, this was a chance to build their college applications planning list and practice their college interview skills with admissions office reps.
For our middle school students, the Fair introduced them to the college experience and future possibilities for STEM industry jobs and, in their much nearer future, high school internships. All of TAF’s students, whatever their current grade, got to learn about near- and long-term college and career readiness opportunities–from the Math-Science Leadership program at UW-Tacoma, to video game development training at DigiPen, to the Ivy League experience at Yale, interning at Institute for Systems Biology, to engineering at Boeing. Other organizations represented at the Fair included business consulting firm Wimmer Solutions, Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, City of Federal Way Surface Water Management division, digital marketing firm Moz, and the National Society of Black Engineers. Participating schools ranged geographically from nearby Highline College to faraway Wesleyan University and Yale University, both in Connecticut. Also on site were Stanford University, Green River College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Evergreen State College, Pacific Lutheran University, Le Cordon Bleu, and each of the University of Washington’s campuses