No doubt about it: Interactive, hands-on STEM experiences –such as the Festival’s “Nifty-Fifty (times 4)” school program — can have a powerful impact on transforming the lives of young students. This is why multimedia trade association leader InfoComm International is returning as a major sponsor of the Festival, and as host of the Nifty Fifty school visits during 2015 which will bring 200 of the nation’s most fascinating innovators and role models in STEM up close and personal for middle and high school students in the Washington, D.C. region.

Says Betsy Jaffe, Vice President of Communications at InfoComm: “If just one student in a classroom is reached by one of the Nifty Fifty speakers, and decides to pursue a career in engineering, medicine or some other scientific field, they can change the world as we know it today. What can be more powerful than that?”

Commenting further on why InfoComm will once again be intimately involved with the Nifty Fifty program and the Festival, Betsy adds, “Students are our most precious resource. InfoComm, as the trade association representing the commercial audiovisual (AV) industry, is committed to building a strong 21st Century technology workforce.” In order to do this, she says, “we must reach out to students and teachers alike to make sure that they are aware of such career paths and the preparation needed.”

Seeing the impact that the Festival had on students during last year’s event has inspired InfoComm professionals to become even further involved on a one-on-one basis with participating students and schools this year.

“As a Festival sponsor in 2014, we were so pleased with the conversations we had with students and teachers alike,” says Betsy. “For example, InfoComm was approached by several schools about providing curricula related to audiovisual technology, and in the Nifty Fifty program, seeing girls excited about coding and young people showing an interest in physics was very impactful.”

During the upcoming Festival, she reports, InfoComm is planning to attend more Nifty Fifty events in person, and offer more hands-on activities at the Festival. Says Betsy: “We want to make sure that attendees know that the audiovisual industry offers great careers, whether or not you’re college bound. We also want people to know that a career in AV is fun! Whether it’s the staging of a major concert, or being the technical expert behind high-powered conference rooms and executives!”

As a leading trade association representing the professional audiovisual and information communications industries worldwide, InfoComm, established in 1939, has more than 5,000 members in more than 80 countries.

Long committed to student outreach, InfoComm’s foundation (the ICIF) sponsors a grant program which supports students at local educational institutions through a comprehensive initiative that includes tuition reimbursement; paid industry work; mentoring, and online education and certification in AV. Students receiving an ICIF Grant must be enrolled in a training or degree program related to the commercial audiovisual industry. For more information on this program, including how to apply, please contact: [email protected].

The Festival sincerely thanks InfoComm and our other valued Sponsors for helping to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals and innovators!