The Fort Meade Alliance created STEM Family Night, an extension of its signature Tech Mania event, to inspire students from elementary and middle school in science, technology, engineering and math. The event at Arundel Mills has welcomed more than 1,800 students and their parents.

Local companies and organizations provide cutting edge technology and hands-on demonstrations designed to bolster students’ interest in STEM-related careers. For instance, Lockheed Martin experimented with facial recognition apps and wireless networks, while Northrop Grumman showed how the Doppler effect works giving students radar guns to detect the speed of a train. Attendees got up close and personal with a gall bladder surgery and learned how different surgical medical equipment worked at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Students performed critical missions with First LEGO League Robotics.

STEM Family Night also offered students and parents a chance to talk to representatives from Anne Arundel and Howard County Public School Systems about their STEM-focused programs and curriculum.

Parents play a significant role in their children’s interest in STEM. In fact, in an American Society for Quality study, professional engineers said that their parents were the major influence in their decision to pursue their career field.

“We want to help inspire students at a young age,” said Penny Cantwell, Fort Meade Alliance Education and Workforce Development Chair. “Increasing awareness and interest in STEM-related fields is critical in this region with the onslaught of new BRAC-related and Cyber Command jobs. We know we have to do our part to get the future workforce ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

For more information about STEM Family Night, contact the Fort Meade Alliance at