SciTech program prepares campers for the future

Students work together to create a wind turbine that can create sustainable energy for a fictional village on Tuesday, June 22 during the SciTech summer enrichment program held at Paisley Middle School. The summer camp is designed to introduce students to the exciting world of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics).

SciTech program prepares campers for the future
July 07
18:50 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



Most children kicked off their summer vacation a few weeks ago by ditching their books for the pool or the beach. But, for a select group of students who participated in this year’s’ SciTech summer program, the calming sounds of waves crashing onto the beach is nothing compared to the excitement of starting summer break in a fully functional science lab.

Since 2011 the program sponsored by the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter has introduced students to the exciting world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), through hands-on experiments, classroom lessons, and field trips. Program director and associate professor of education at Winston-Salem State University Denise Johnson saidSciTech is a general STEM experience combined with different flavors of particular topics.

Johnson noted, along with keeping students’ minds fresh during the summer months, SciTech also prepares students who are ready to go into the workforce. She said during each lesson students are given a real world issue and asked to work in groups to find a solution to the problem.

Priced at only $10 per student, SciTech is also an affordable alternative to other summer camps that charge more than $100.

“In order to create a systemic population of people who are ready for jobs in North Carolina you have to get them interested early. You cannot wait until they’re high school or college bound,” she said.

“We have to make sure a children are prepared to make a difference in our communities.” According to Johnson, this year’s theme was sustainability. She said they chose that topic because there have been so many sustainable issues discussed on the news and in the media.

“Both physical and social sustainable issues need to be reinvented,” she continued. “For example, the Flint, Michigan, water issues was a science issue but it was also a social issue.”

During an interview with The Chronicle, Johnson said, moving forward we’re going to need young people who are interested in those types of issue. “They hear about these issues on the news or from their parents, but what is an action they can take?

“That’s what SciTech is all about introducing students to jobs that focus on solving these issues. These are careers and we have to ensure our students are interested in them.”

This year, more than 100 students spent the first weeks of their vacation building wind turbines and thinking of other ways to bring sustainable energy and water to a fictional village.

Allison Bonner, a student at Walkertown Middle School, said what she enjoys most about the camp is the experiments and the field trips they take to places like WSSU, Wake Forest, and businesses throughout the region that specialize in STEM.

“I like that it’s very interactive,” she said. “We get to do a lot of hand’s on activities that we don’t usually do in a regular class-room.”

Bonner, who also attended the camp last year, said although English is her favorite subject, after participating in SciTech the past two summers she has become more interested in science and making the world a better place.

First time camper Charline Tucker, who is home schooled, admits after first having doubts about the camp she quickly realized that SciTech was nothing like she expected in a classroom setting the instructors make it enjoyable.

“I usually don’t go to camps like this but it’s really been awesome. Even the math classes are really cool,” said Tucker. “They do a really good job of balancing fun and school.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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