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DreamFest 2022

March 1, 2023 - Though Northern Kentucky University’s students may not have classes on Monday, March 6, due to Spring Break, the Highland Heights campus will still be bustling with student activity as nearly 800 of the region’s brightest middle-school students will participate in DreamFest, an annual day of learning and enrichment.

This year’s event marks the 38th installment of Dreamfest, which NKU will again host for students from 11 local public-school districts in five northern-Kentucky counties. The event is organized by the Northern Kentucky Association of Gifted Educators (NKAGE) in conjunction with the NKU’s Institute for Talent Development and Gifted Studies.

“Since its inception, DreamFest has been providing the opportunity for gifted students from our region to interact with high potential peers while engaging in enriching activities and thought-provoking dialogue,” Heather Hicks, president of NKAGE and Gifted and Talented Coordinator with Boone County Schools, said. “This is an event that our students look forward to each year and very much appreciate the professionals who present their expertise.”

DreamFest’s main-stage presentation features the Kentucky Science Center presenting Ion Jones and the Lost Castle of Chemistry. Students will join the adventure as Ion discovers elements, demonstrates chemical reactions and breaks down chemistry concepts. Students will explore 10 hands-on activity stations, each designed to illustrate how chemistry pervades all aspects of life and just how many careers include chemistry. Students will leave with greater STEM knowledge after conducting their own chemical reactions, using forensic science to solve a mystery and using pH to distinguish between four identical liquids.

Students will also participate in interactive, minds-on breakout workshops exploring critical and creative thinking ranging in content from language arts and mathematics, to performing arts and leadership. Throughout the day, local professionals and teachers volunteering their time will offer 20 unique breakout workshops.

DreamFest began in the mid-1980s with a focus on the performing arts. Since then, the event has taken many forms, but has always called NKU its home.

Dr. Kimberly Code, both the director of the Institute for Talent Development and a professor in the NKU College of Education, always looks forward to this event.

“We are excited to host DreamFest on NKU’s campus again this year and look forward to welcoming over 800 students, representing 11 area school districts,” Dr. Code said. “DreamFest is always an incredible learning and exploration opportunity for the students who attend and an important time for us to showcase the great facilities, programs, and people at NKU.”

Dr. Ginni Fair, dean of the College of Education, also recognizes the importance of continuing to host this event at NKU.

“DreamFest is the premier event for the gifted and talented community in the northern-Kentucky region. With innovative sessions in art and music, literacy and social studies, STEM, creativity and leadership, the conference will tap into students’ myriad interests, and will enable them to explore other passions and possibilities. For those involved in gifted and talented programs, this is a must-attend event! We at Northern Kentucky University are honored to host this conference each year,” Dr. Fair said.

To learn more about NKU Talented Development and Gifted Studies, visit its website.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit