AUSTIN (KXAN) – More than 9,000 Texas children from all over the state attended Saturday the 22nd STEM Girl Day at the University of Texas in Austin. 

The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at UT Austin hosts the event to spark creativity and inspire future STEM field careers.

“It’s important to have events like this so that girls can see themselves as scientists and engineers; so that they can be scientists and engineers for a day and connect with STEM role models who are college students studying these types of careers,” said Tricia Berry, the executive director of Women in STEM at UT Austin.

“It’s fun and it’s exciting to be able to be working in these kinds of spaces,” Berry continued. 

Berry, who is an engineer herself, has been hosting the event for the last 20 years. She said she has met many children – now adults – who said they came to this event years ago and are now working in STEM.

“To see kids actually having these experiences and understanding what it is to be an engineer and connect with engineering role models now, is super exciting for me and fulfilling for me, because I didn’t have those experiences,” Berry said. 

Berry told KXAN that this is the biggest event of its kind in the country. It included nearly 150 STEM activities and demonstrations with around 1,400 STEM role models to interact with the students. 

One organization at the event was Harmony Public School which has 62 campuses across Texas and serves nearly 40,000 students. 

“I would say that our girls are the future of this world. They are pretty amazing,” said Smita Negi, a STEM teacher at Harmony Public Schools. “I think the girls can do amazing things in your STEM. So that’s why we are promoting them.”