10:48 AM

STEM Learners Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Tech Astra event propels girls to academic excellence.

Katie Lee

State Farm® employee Katie Lee volunteered for the company’s Tech Astra event because she loves getting involved with younger minds learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

Hosted this fall at all four State Farm locations, Tech Astra is an innovative program aimed at giving female students the opportunity to explore the vast possibilities of STEM. The event is led by women and tailored to challenge 5th to 12th graders.

Katie, who has a degree in neuroscience, said, “I see myself in these girls. I was shy as a kid, so I was trying to get the quieter girls involved and heard.”

At the event in Bloomington, Ill., Katie saw the girls collaborating while conducting STEM-related experiments. She said, “The girls were really excited about the Zombie and the Catapult events. It was cool to see them work together and experiment.”

Survive the Zombie Apocalypse lab was all about getting the kids to practice their communication skills and work together as a team to form a consensus under a time limit. This was one of the labs designed to practice the soft skills needed to succeed in STEM.

The Design and Test a Catapult lab was meant to challenge the girls to think critically and get creative, while working as a team. It also provided a fun way to highlight basic physics principles like projectile motion, trajectory, and kinetic energy.

Participant Quinn Dunsmore said, “My favorite part of the day was the cup stacking. We had to build muscles to not use your hands. We had to think about it in a unique way to be successful.”

Student Lily Heidrick added, “We made bridges out of chopsticks that had to hold a brick. Mine was one that worked and looked just like the original.”

About State Farm®:

For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, lifehealth, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

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