STEM summer program stimulates young minds

Published on Monday, 16 July 2018 19:11
Written by Karla Santos


NEW BRITAIN – Central Connecticut State University is currently hosting its sixth annual Young Engineers Summer STEM Workforce Development Program to educate students about careers in engineering, manufacturing, and other mathematical fields.

STEM refers to the school and workplace fields of science, technology, engineering and math.    

The program is designed for students in grades seven, eight, and nine. Students started the program on July 9 and will continue through August 8.

The purpose of the program is to encourage students to develop an interest in STEM related careers.

Open source computer coding, three-dimensional printing and modeling, patent research, and information technology are some of the learning topics that the students experience in the program.

Dan Kirby is an associate professor in the CCSU school of Engineering, Science and Technology (EST). Kirby and Ravindra Thamma, head of the Manufacturing & Construction Management department in the school of EST, wrote the grant for the program.

Kirby said that the Young Engineers program is a benefit to the students regardless of their age.

“The challenge is getting the students to understand - especially in terms of science and mathematics - ... how that will apply to technology and engineering,” Kirby said.

There are 26 students in the program. Some of the participants are involved in CCSU’s Trio program, New Britain and Bristol’s Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA.

Alexia Holmes is a student at Slade Middle School who is interested in law. Holmes said she likes the program because it gives her the chance to explore other careers.

“I like that we learn new things every day, but we don’t stick to just one topic. We learn different things,” Holmes said.

Galadrielle Sanchez, also from Slade Middle School, said she wants to be a veterinarian. She said Young Engineers has helped her identify the link between her career of interest and engineering.

One of the goals of the program is to help students work both independently and as a team in an academic and professional setting. On Monday, for example, students participated in a team-building exercise. They also learned about the important role that computer code plays in different industries.

The program was funded by the American Savings Foundation, TD Bank and the New Britain Chamber of Commerce.

Umme Tasnim is an Economics student at UConn and she is involved with the Young Engineers through an internship opportunity funded by the American Savings Foundation.

By the end of the program, Tasnim will write a logistical review of the program’s growth during its five weeks.

“I’m very excited to see the project that Umme is going to be able to work on and how different programs can have a tie to different majors,” Maria Falvo, President of the American Savings Foundation, said.

Sola Agboola is a graduate student at CCSU who is also working with the Young Engineers as part of his internship.

“His project managing skills are solid as a rock,” said Rick Mullins, CCSU executive assistant to the president.

The person in charge of recruiting students for the program is Jason Gibson of New Britain’s Boys and Girls club.

“This is important because it introduces kids, especially in middle school, to the idea of really staring towards a career in an engineering program,” Gibson said.

The program is also a way of engaging the faculty and other organizations in some of the community outreach and engagement work that CCSU wants to do, Jessica Hernandez, CCSU Coordinator of Community Engagement, said.

As part of the program, students will go on a tour of Okay Industries and possibly a tour of Tunxis Community College.

Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Manufacturing on Monday, 16 July 2018 19:11. Updated: Monday, 16 July 2018 19:14.