Careers in science, technology, engineering and math – known as STEM – are growing faster than other occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of jobs will grow more than 10% by 2031.

On Saturday, various science and environmental organizations will come together to help spread knowledge about science and the arts.

More than 15,000 people are expected to attend the St. Petersburg Science Festival, put on by USF St. Pete and the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s MarineQuest. The event was born out of the growing interest in STEM careers.

Scientists from NASA, the National Weather Service and Florida Aquarium, to name a few, will be showcasing their work.

The festival will also welcome the Junior Scientist Program. Students from around 30 middle and high schools get to learn first-hand from experts about a range of topics, from marine life to engineering and robotics.

“The junior scientists and the kids that are being exposed here, they’re the future,” said Natalia Lopez Figueroa, chair of the Junior Scientist Program. “We’re not forever and we need to pass down our knowledge. Everyone needs a teacher. We learn something from everyone.”

The Junior Scientist Program was created by students from USF’s College of Marine Science. The goal is to inspire young students by showing them all of the possibilities in science, while preparing them for a successful future.

“A lot of those careers are on the up so it’s a good decision for them to have a background in that,” said Jennifer Giuffre, coordinator of the magnet program at Bay Point Middle School. “Even if they don’t directly go into STEM, a lot of the skills that they learn can be applied to a lot of different careers.”

The St. Petersburg Science Festival is free and open to the public. It’s happening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the waterfront on the USF St. Pete campus, as well as outside the nearby FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

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