Jen Curatola-Wozniak, U.S. Consulate
STEM & Makers Fest and Expo, December 15, 2018, 12:00 p.m, Inonu University
Representatives of the Ministry of National Education, İnönü University, and Malatya municipalities, students, teachers, and parents, merhabalar. I am honored to be here in Malatya for the first time for the STEM & Makers Fest and Expo. The room is buzzing with excitement as you anticipate all the exciting skills you will learn – or is that just the whirring of the robots?
On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I’d like to thank all of the partners who made this expo possible – Hacettepe University, Inonu University, Turkish STEM Alliance, STEM News Aggregator, and especially Prof. Gultekin Cakmakci for his steadfast efforts to coordinate this impressive event.
Ataturk once said, “Hayatta en hakiki mürşit ilimdir.” How right he was. His words were never truer than they are today. Our world is becoming more and more technological. Our problems are increasingly complex. Even just the next thirty years hold boundless challenges, and your generation will be leading the way to address them. Can humans travel to Mars, and if so, can they tame its harsh environment for tourism or even habitation? What is the consequence of social media on our privacy, friendships, and access to accurate information? How will artificial intelligence impact our lives and our understanding of what it means to be human? We need people with the ingenuity and technical know-how to answer these questions and many more for the next century and beyond.
Unfortunately, the demand for STEM experts still far outpaces the supply. Many students’ only exposure to STEM fields are in the classroom—poring over textbooks, memorizing equations, or at best, staring into beakers in dreary laboratories. These experiences aren’t likely to spark the passion and drive necessary to dedicate one’s life to solving the world’s greatest challenges through STEM. That’s why this STEM & Makers Fest and Expo is important. By engaging with STEM in an interactive, hands-on way, kids will feel inspired and empowered at what they can achieve.
Hacettepe University and their partners show great vision in bringing hands-on experiences with STEM to students in Malatya and their families. We at the U.S. Embassy are pleased to support them. Teşekkürler.