Google hosted over 500 children at the tech festival yesterday, a public event organized to inspire kids to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and enlisted Sen. Schumer to endorse its message.
“Particularly [to] our young people, we would love you for the good of America, for the happiness of yourself, to really consider getting involved in [STEM],” said the senator, as two boys fanned themselves while parents videotaped him with iPhones. “I can tell you this from my experience: you’ll find it extremely useful and fun in your life.”
Wedged into Gansevoort Plaza at the heart of the Meatpacking District, the fair’s trendy locale suited the occasion—according to Google, it’s cool to be a geek these days.
“In a funny way, being a geek has become a lot more acceptable than it used to be,” William Floyd, head of external affairs for Google in New York, told the Observer. “It’s become a little cool. I think that’s because technology is so much more a part of our lives … Being a geek is being somebody who can create the things that we use every day.”
To prove to kids just how cool and applicable STEM is, Google partnered with 21 organizations across all industries to set up tents and demonstrate basic forces central to daily life. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), for example, exhibited a lego crane to explain the pulley system and collect Kit Kats and M&M’s from a plastic tub.
Cindia, a festival-goer, said her son Zevi loves gadgets and technology, so he favored the crane station. “I think it gives him a better understanding just to how things work and see that it’s something anybody can sort of make.”
Sen. Schumer urged parents and children to explore STEM fields, arguing society may have reached the “saturation level” for lawyers, but not at all for scientists. Even if science is not a child’s calling, the senator believes systemic thinking is an indispensable skill for any career.
The senator rounded things off by praising Google for its efforts. “There are some big companies that I call rapacious,” he said. “But other companies realize that it’s good for them to be good to the people that they serve, and I think Google is one of those companies. So I’m very proud that Google has so many jobs here in New York and sponsors things like the Geek Fair.”