September 25, 2012
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Dr. Franklin B. Brown, Dean, Science and Mathematics Division, Tallahassee Community College (TCC), provides insight into the benefits of the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars project, saying: “This program presents a wonderful opportunity for outstanding high school students to meet and interact with members of our STEM faculty, professionals in scientific fields, utilize our modern STEM educational facilities, and become familiar with our campus. This is an outstanding chance to recruit these talented STEM students to TCC and to establish relationships between our STEM faculty and K-12 faculty and students”, he stated.
He went on to add that, “Certainly, we want to fully support STEM talent development and since studies indicate that students begin losing their interest in STEM areas in middle school and early high school; if we can provide some “hands-on” and interesting scientific activities, using modern equipment that may not be available in rural schools, then we can spark interest in these students in the STEM areas and this is one of our missions” he pointed out. “Our president, Dr. Jim Murdaugh, has challenged us to become a Center for Excellence in STEM Education. Recruiting students who have an interest in the STEM disciplines is a major focus of this initiative and this program supports these efforts.”
Dr. George Bishop, Vice President of Academic Affairs, echoed those comments and added, “Students from small, rural districts have the opportunity to explore our campus, work directly with talented and committed college faculty, experience first-hand the excitement of emerging technologies and developing career fields.
A long-time partner of Florida’s oldest regional educational consortium, PAEC, is Chipola College. Dr. Sarah Clemmons, Senior Vice President of Instruction at Chipola answered the question, “What are the benefits to your college for the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars gifted and talented students from small and rural districts to participate in authentic STEM learning experiences on your campus?” She stated that, “Students have the opportunity to visit our campus, engage in academic inquiry with other district (and regional students), and are further inspired to attend Chipola.”
“One of the highlights of Chipola’s partnership with the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars Initiative has been the highly effective STEM Scholars Summer Challenges,” she further explained. “In addition, Chipola has hosted STEM Scholars parent meetings where recent regional Chipola STEM graduates currently employed in STEM careers shared experiences and advice for the STEM Scholars from Chipola’s five rural school districts.”
“The regional forums, parent nights, and Summer Challenges held on the campuses of our regional higher education facilities give STEM Scholars an opportunity to collaboratively problem solve, learn about STEM careers, learn to maneuver on a campus, and get to know other students that have similar interests,” reports Caren Prichard, Project Consultant. “Their partnership is instrumental in helping us achieve the STEM Talent Development goal of the project.”
To explore some of the opportunities that have been made available to students at regional higher education institutions through the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars Initiative, please visit www.floridalearnsstemscholars.org or contact Brenda Crouch, Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org