USAMRDC, Frederick County Wrap Successful Winter STEM Course
Advancements in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are vital in expanding the immediate and long-term goals of both the Army and the U.S. Department of Defense. Making gains in these fields begins with teaching the next generation of students and young professionals, particularly those interested in STEM and affiliated concepts. To spur youth interest in STEM, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command recently partnered with Frederick County Public Schools and Frederick County Public Libraries to offer students a fun and interactive way to get involved in STEM, through the STEM mini-series.
The mini-series event, which began late last year and ran through early January, was a virtual, four-week program focusing on providing children with the necessary tools and means to learn and experiment with STEMS concepts and ideas. Each week, a new STEM-focused activity kit was available for pick-up at participating libraries. Each kit was made available for one week, running from December 6, 2021, to January 2.
Each week, Service Members with both the Army and Air Force volunteered to demonstrate the kits to children and their families. Cpl. Robert Ozaeta, TSgt Paul McKenzie, TSgt Anthony Moss, and Master Sgt. Matt McDonald all supported the event.
"MRDC's STEM mini-series was an excellent opportunity for me, as an Airman, who throughout my career has been highly technical in my career field, to allow me to take part in a teamwork focused event that focus on creativity and bringing innovate methods to showcase the collaboration between the military and the STEM program students," said McDonald.
The kits included all the necessary supplies to complete the activity as well as an instruction sheet with a link to a video demonstration from a U.S. Army or Air Force volunteer. Through the kits, participants were able to explore the principles of solar energy, physics, microscopy and circuitry. Notably, the kits included projects related to the study of solar bugs, the building of Alka-Seltzer rockets, and the construction of copper circuits and foldscopes. The event not only brought together the community through learning, but also aided in the encouragement of young children to pursue a path in STEM. According to the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation, broadening participation in STEM will ultimately lead to the expansion of STEM capabilities throughout the U.S. workforce, which will in turn further advance a number of Army and private workforce goals.
Following the successful completion of the STEM mini-series, USAMRDC looks forward to other projects to encourage young minds. Next on the STEM calendar will be the summer GEMS (or, Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science) program, which begins June 27 and is open to grades four through twelve. Throughout this program, students will further explore STEM concepts during a week-long program where they will be able to participate in hands-on experiments.