STEM Pipeline Blog / September 21, 2023
Delta STEM Explorer
The Delta College STEM Explorer program includes a 38-foot mobile STEM vehicle complete with the latest technologies. Thanks to a $4 million grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in 2015, Delta College developed this program to reach out to middle and high school students in the Great Lakes Bay Region to provide information about the vast opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and math. Visits aim to help students become excited about STEM careers and provide information on Delta programs that will prepare them for those careers.
We have been aiming to get our community outreach back to pre-pandemic impact levels, which we expect to reach this academic year. Here is some exciting data about the program from our past year:
- 7,270 interactions with K-12 students and community members
- 26 schools visited
- Collaboration with 46 teachers
Out of all the students who the STEM Explorer was able to visit with during the 2022-2023 year:
- 70.4% said that they were more interested in STEM because of their visit
- 83.4% said they would possibly or definitely consider a STEM career they learned about through their visit
- 64% learned about a new STEM career
Our middle school visits take place in the fall and spring. We bring the STEM Explorer vehicle setup with a variety of STEM and skilled trade stations that relate to careers prevalent in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Students are able to get outside of their classroom to explore activities that will get them excited about STEM, spark interests, and give them exposure to careers they may not have known existed otherwise. Some of the stations include 3D printers, virtual reality headsets, CNC machining, welding simulator, microscopes, and more.
In the winter we head into schools to visit with high school classrooms for Deep Dive Projects that involve more in-depth activities that happen over a one or two week period. Using real-life skills from STEM careers and skilled trades, students test out their interests in future pathways. Opportunities to provide exposure to quality STEM experiences are essential in educating kids and teens of the options they have to explore post-graduation. We are always asking for input to develop projects that meet teachers’ needs, which we have used to create the following planned Deep Dive Projects for this year:
- Art with 3D Printing Highlighting the connection between the arts and STEM, classes will decide on a 3D art project to complete, whether it is individual sculptures or a cohesive class mural. Using Computer-Aided Design (CAD), students will construct models to be created using 3D printing as their medium.
- Robotics Students will go through the steps of learning how to build and program an autonomous robot with sensors. Collaborating in teams they will work through the engineering design process to test and refine their robots to complete competition tasks.
- Training Trackers Students will engineer fitness training equipment that will track health data. Using data analysis and statistics, they will develop mathematical models to explain physical science concepts related to their training trackers.
- Optimized CNC Machine Groups will follow instructions to build and test a CNC machine. Based on their test results, they will need to engineer a plan to optimize their machine to run more accurately and efficiently. Students will then learn how to code a real CNC machine and create a product.
Presenting middle and high schoolers with quality STEM experiences is vital to everyone in our region as it is key in developing a strong STEM talent pipeline. We need youth interest in STEM in furtherance of having them consider receiving education and training in these field areas, and continuing onto taking related high-demand positions in our regional workforce. In pursuance of attracting and maintaining successful STEM industries here, we need to be able to provide qualified candidates to fill their fundamental positions. This target of intriguing more students into pursuing high-need STEM careers in the future can be achieved by getting them excited about STEM now and giving them exposure to different options that are in our area.
Going forward the goal is to continue the growth of the outreach impact from the Delta STEM Explorer program. Meeting this goal will require continuing to grow connections with STEM industries in our region. I am always looking for new ways to collaborate with Great Lakes Bay employers with respect to providing industry awareness, learning about jobs that can be showcased through our programs, and creating current hands-on experiences to share during our school visits. If you are a local STEM employer that would like to connect with the STEM Explorer program, please reach out to me.
The other side of meeting our growth goal is through the continuation of fostering partnerships with our schools and teachers. If you are a secondary educator interested in getting your students involved with the STEM Explorer program, please contact me or complete our interest form.
Forms for Students:
Middle School Interest Form: https://forms.gle/EYy66obEjBAeQ1RC8
High School Interest Form: https://forms.gle/GK3tW1sn6xgtdbiW7
Delta College STEM Explorer Coordinator
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