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STEM event draws crowd to University of Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The University of Memphis has been selected to lead a $4 million STEM project.

Friday,  the university connected teachers with industry leaders to get the word out about careers in STEM.

As early as kindergarten, students are learning about STEM.

They are creating and controlling robots preparing them for a brighter future.

"Working with the teachers and the university allows us to see what is actually out there," said Erik Shoemake.

That was the purpose of West Tennessee STEM Hub’s event hosted at University of Memphis: to connect industry leaders with area STEM teachers.

"STEM jobs tend to pay a lot more, they bring stability, so that keeps jobs here and it keeps people employed," added Shoemake.

For teachers, a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics means more productivity for Memphis.

Collierville High School 11th grader Matthew Umsted told us he has been hooked for sometime now.

"My interest in STEM started really young; making Legos and giant towers and seeing what all I could make them hold," said Umsted.

By junior high his interest in robotics grew into a passion. A passion that led to him to pursue a career in engineering.

It's a field Shoemake believes he’s equipped for because he already built industrial robots.

"When we look at STEM there's like 4 jobs to every 1 student."

A probability that appears to swing in favor of STEM students.

Through the grant the University of Memphis will lead a team of researchers from UCLA, UC San Francisco, and the University of Pennsylvania.

The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation.