STEM Summer Camps for Students -- and How Industry Professionals Can Participate
May 13, 2013
Last month, President Barack Obama hosted 100 student innovators from more than 40 states for the third annual White House Science Fair After touring their exhibits, Obama congratulated the students Among the new initiatives was the launch of more than 1,000 summer learning events, planned as part of a summer-long campaign "to help young people embrace the maker spirit and learn career-building STEM skills." Engaging and inspiring young people to pursue opportunities in STEM fields early is widely considered by experts as an important step in meeting the nation's future innovation needs. What students learn outside the classroom can make just as large an impression as formal learning time. That is why the newly announced learning events, along with STEM-centric summer camps and similar programs for youths, provide opportunities for STEM inspiration. Directories created by the Engineering Education Service Center "Hands-on science and engineering programs, competitions, and camps are wonderful introductions to STEM for students even as young as elementary grade," Melissa Carl, a manager of government relations for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers In the past, summer camp meant either time in the wilderness or on a sports field. Today, there are educational camps with themes from space exploration and aviation to robotics and invention. Most STEM-centric camps share some common goals:
- Entice young people to think like scientists and engineers
- Provide a fun, creative, hands-on learning experience
- Teach youth to experiment and overcome obstacles
- Build self-esteem and confidence
- Ultimately inspire youth to pursue careers in STEM fields.
- Consider causes that are important to you, and look for a group or program that deals with issues you feel strongly about.
- Consider what expertise you can share with others, and look for a group or program in which your particular skills can be fully utilized.
- When you find a group or program that is in line with your interests and expertise, determine whether it offers training or professional development opportunities for its volunteers.