Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Five out of five academics would agree, it's never too early to spark a child's interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
On Wednesday, students from South Middle School toured parts of the UW-Eau Claire campus with the hope they'd be inspired to, one day, join a STEM field themselves. Students got an up-close look at how science impacts their everyday lives and saw first hand just how fun science and engineering can be.
Doug Dunham, the director of the Material Science and Engineering Center at UWEC, said it's critical to engage students in STEM as early as possible.
"We're finding that if by middle school they're not interested, then they're probably not going to pursue a science and engineering career," Dunham told News 18. "If we want better technology in the future, we need those people who will develop that technology. It's not going to be those of us already in the field, we need the next generation to also pursue that and take it further."
He also said he was excited to speak to a group full of girls on Wednesday because women make up less than 50 percent of the people working in the material science field. He hopes experiences like this boost those numbers.
Students from Longfellow Elementary School will get the chance to tour the center next week.