Nearly 60 Northeast Oregon high school students enjoyed a dinner that featured chicken cordon bleu at Eastern Oregon University Wednesday night.

Years from now the students probably won’t remember their main entree, but they may recall some of the wisdom their fellow diners shared with them.

The students dined with area residents who work in the science, technology, engineering and math fields as part of a “Dinner with STEM Professionals” at the Gilbert Center at EOU put on by the Greater Oregon Science Technology, Engineering and Math program.

“I hope that it inspired students to learn about STEM careers. We want to inspire them to see the possibilities,” said EOU education professor Donna Rainboth, the director of the GO-STEM partnership for the Eastern Oregon region.

EOU is a GO-STEM hub, created with funding from a state grant about three years ago to promote science, technology, engineering and math instruction in schools; help businesses learn how to use all four in the workplace to boost production and efficiency; and further the public’s understanding of science.

At Wednesday’s event, students, educators and GO-STEM Advisory Board members dined with 13 professionals in fields connected to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The dinner was set up so that a STEM professional sat with students and educators at one of the approximately 15 tables for 20 minutes before moving on to another table. Over the course of the dinner, the STEM professionals were guests at a total of three tables.

The students, who attended with educators from their schools, learned about a variety of things including the art of repairing fiber optic cable; techniques used by veterinarians in animal treatment; the operation of drones; how tillers, with the aid of hydraulic power, can operate without belts, chains or gears; plus biology, entomology and physical therapy.

See complete story in Friday's Observer

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