PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The 2022 STEM Academy educated students on cybersecurity at Goodwill Commons in Peoria Friday.

The STEM Academy is a program that enlightens students on the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Each year the Academy gives students an in-depth look into some advanced technology.

Pearl Technology collaborated with Richwood Township, Caterpillar, and the University of Illinois Extension for the event.

President of Pearl Technology, Dave Johnson, said sixth through eighth-grade students participated, coming from different schools in the area.

“The University of Illinois sets up registration, they help with selecting 25 students,” said Johnson.

After listening to speakers and going through workshops, students were able to participate in a “Capture the Flag” cyber competition to apply what they learned in the Academy to solve problems.

Johnson said the Academy’s mission is to reveal STEM jobs to the students.

“We didn’t want to have a STEM Academy where it’s just covering the surface, every year we bring in experts that talk to the kids. The whole idea is to get the kids excited about pursuing a STEM career,” said Johnson,

He said another component of this year’s theme was to show students how to understand and avoid the dangers of the internet.