CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Jan. 29, 2018) - Arnn Elementary held its annual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Symposium Jan. 25 on Sagamihara Family Housing Area.

The purpose of the event is to inspire learning and introduce students to a variety of STEM-related careers and fields, said Noelle Matthews, STEM Symposium coordinator.

"We want to open their eyes, and their minds, to all the different possibilities that there are and for them to know they can make a difference through science, technology, engineering and math in the real world," said Matthews.

Students participated in several break-out sessions presented by Service Members, other volunteers and a few of their teachers.

Youth members learned about various fields, such as electricity, optometry, recycling, food safety and dentistry.

Some of the more hands-on sessions included exploring a Black Hawk Helicopter, learning how to do basic computer coding, and engaging with Snowy, a therapy dog.

Christina Grubbs, 10, 4th-grader at Arnn, said she enjoyed participating in the balance and proportion exercises, which were conducted by physical therapists from U.S. Army Medical Activities-Japan.

"I think it's really cool and nice to learn about science and other people's jobs," said Christina.

Christopher Harris, 9, 4th-grader at Arnn, said he enjoyed seeing the military police K-9 demonstration.

"I like seeing the K9's but I don't think I'd want to try and train them," said Christopher.

Christopher said he also learned about a lot of jobs that use math and science and he really liked seeing the presenters "show us how they do it."

This was the seventh year for the STEM symposium and it was held earlier than normal to give students inspiration for their science projects later this spring, according to Matthews.

Matthews, who is also science teacher, was enthusiastic about the outcome of the event and shared a message to all the Arnn students regarding their future careers.

"If you find something that you're super interested in and you follow it with a passion, and you really love it, know that you can make a difference in people's lives every single day."