Thanks to a $80,000 grant, middle school girls from Cumberland and Scott counties will be able to participate in year-long STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) camps beginning with three-week camps this July and one Saturday a month throughout the school year on Roane State’s campuses in those counties.
The grant was presented to the community college from the Verizon Foundation and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship is funding the popular programs.
Roane State’s Cumberland County campus was among four other colleges nationwide to win funding for the pilot project of the Verizon Innovative Learning program during the 2017/2018 school year.
The grant provides for the fourth year of STEM camp on the Cumberland County campus and the second year for Scott County.
Officials are optimistic the grant funding will be renewed, next time for a three-year cycle. Funding is intended to help girls from underserved rural areas in a bid to boost their interest in STEM topics.
Campers with nearly perfect attendance throughout the entire camp year will be able to keep the digital tablets they’ve been given to use during the camps and the Saturday sessions.
Topics during the year include 3D Design and 3D printing, electronics and coding, augmented reality and virtual reality, and design thinking and entrepreneurship. Students in the past have built robots as well as 3D printers from kits during the camps.
“Through direct exposure to immersive technologies students will learn first-hand how digital media and mobile technology can be leveraged to create and deliver innovative solutions to social issues,” according to a statement from Verizon Innovative Learning.
“Verizon Foundation’s mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM to create better futures not only for themselves but also for their communities and for the world.”
In the past, students in the Cumberland County camp have streamed a conversation with a female engineer at NASA and heard first-hand from a Peace Corps worker visiting family in the Crossville area. Field trips to the American Science Museum in Nashville and the Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville have been taken by the Cumberland County campers.
The Scott County campers’ field trips have included the Cumberland County Playhouse and the Oakley STEM Center, and they’ve used iPads in a scavenger hunt at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens.
Roane State Community College is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Crossville, Harriman, Huntsville, Jamestown, Knoxville, LaFollette, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Wartburg and Clinton.