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At the end of each semester, the doors of the WILC are opened for all visitors to participate in a bi-annual APEX Showcase event. This past December, local business partners, families, community members, representatives from surrounding school districts, as well as multiple midwest colleges came to both share and learn.

To date, APEX has hosted three Showcase events at the conclusion of each semester. The vision of Showcase, first and foremost, is to provide an opportunity for APEX associates to highlight the hard work that they have been doing throughout the term. There is so much good that is happening on a daily basis. The end-of-term event allows all involved in the program time to pause, celebrate and share many of these accomplishments.

An overarching goal of the APEX program is to expose young people to the skills needed for future professions. These skills are another piece of the Showcase night, as APEX associates plan interactive STEM displays to highlight the skills they are learning in their courses. This past December, community members of all ages enjoyed creating towers out of everyday items, practicing surgery skills, playing insurance Jenga, and interacting in a virtual world. Guests at the event also learned how APEX associates use the in-house green screen for client projects, how to manipulate code to change a website, or how a human being fares when challenged to stack coins against a robot. Jill Vogel, a Waukee parent, stated “My 5th-grade daughter interacted with the displays in every sector, and she learned a wealth of knowledge in the short 2-hour time span. In fact, I had a hard time getting her to leave because she was busy coding a robot”.

Another component of Showcase is to highlight current APEX business partners. Connor Gatzke and Mariah Norton are both employees at DLR Group located in Des Moines. Both Connor and Mariah have worked with the APEX program in multiple ways. They are mentors to our student associates, supporters of our summer elementary and middle school STEM Innovators Camp, and they have both attended Showcase as representatives of DLR Group. When asked about the importance of Showcase from a partner perspective, Connor and Mariah stated that “Being a part of the showcase event allows us, as business partners, to see the value in being a supporter of the APEX program. We are able to recognize and understand the vast network of the greater program that we are excited to be a part.”

Want to know the differences between sources of energy? How physical therapists use force plates? The premise behind hydroponics? Then you will not want to miss the next Showcase event on May 9th, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center.

View the Fall 2018 Showcase highlight video here.

Would your school like to visit or your business like to host a table at this spring’s showcase? Visit our registration page for more information.