Making STEM Connections to Ignite Student Interests
Abstract: This is a conference paper for the Education Division's 2011 ASQ Advancing the STEM Agenda in Education, the Workplace and Society. The paper is authored by Julie Hellweg and Christopher P. Cirmo, of the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point.
Outreach efforts to youth in inspiring interest in and exploration of numerous fields of science and science related careers has been on the agenda of programming for UWSP Continuing Education for numerous years. Capitalizing on the resources of the University including the faculty, facilities and opportunities for study at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, two annual events have served hundreds of young people from around the state of Wisconsin.
UWSP STEM Career Day is a fall event that is designed for 9th through 12th grade boys and girls. The purpose of this event is to expose students to the UWSP environment, provide an opportunity for the students to participate in hands on workshops lead by faculty, staff and UWSP students, showcase the various science departments and programs available beyond high school, and make connections with students and presenters.
Women & Science Day is an event catered to girls in grades 7 and 8. The purpose of this event is to provide young women an opportunity to participate and explore a variety of career options available in numerous fields of science and technology. All sessions are taught by UWSP faculty and students as well as many professional women from throughout Wisconsin.
Both events are held on the UWSP campus and offer fun, hands-on workshops to inspire interest in the sciences. Innovation, collaboration, partnerships, networking and the philosophy that “people support what they help create”, have been the building blocks that these program stand on. These educational venues have provided faculty, staff and students an opportunity to share research. School districts throughout the state have sent over 1500 students to these events in the last 2 years. Both events have received exceptional evaluations from students, teachers and presenters and have served as a recruitment tool for UWSP.
Keywords: STEM - K-12 Outreach - 21st Century Skills - Conference Proceedings - STEM-Increase K-20 Interest and College Enrollment