Friday, June 30, 2017

USNA's STEM Program Hosts Baltimore Youth

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The United States Naval Academy's Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) office hosted 60 Baltimore students during its Summer Heroes Youth Program (SHYP) at USNA.

The students visited USNA for day trips to participate in a number of physical activities and STEM workshops facilitated by midshipmen, staff and faculty.


SHYP highlights what an institution like USNA can offer and hopes to foster interest in higher education in STEM fields among younger students.

“Being from Baltimore, I felt like I almost had a responsibility to participate and show the students that there are kids who come out of the city and attend amazing institutions like USNA,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Dante Daniels, lead midshipman liaison for SHYP. “I’m excited to be able to share my experience, to help inspire them to continue down a great path and value their potential.”

The eight-day program hosted students attending Fort Worthington Elementary, Baltimore IT Academy, Hampstead Hill Academy, AFYA, North County Elementary, Guilford Elementary, Waverly Elementary, Roland Park Elementary and Middle, Vanguard Collegiate Middle, Montebello Elementary and Middle Schools. Parents could drop off students at pick-up points throughout the area including the Y at Weinberg. This collaboration with the community allowed the USNA STEM Center to double the capacity of students for SHYP.


"The community, parents and teachers put a lot of effort forward to help us host this many kids, and the students reflect that,” said Professor Sarah Durkin, USNA STEM Center associate director. “The students are so enthusiastic, we’ve even heard they run to the bus in the mornings.”

The partnership with Baltimore Schools and the STEM program helps emphasize coordination and team-building exercises.

“We think SHYP gives them confidence and strong self-image,” said Professor Angela Moran, Volgenau Chair for education and outreach and STEM Center director. “We see them learn how important communication skills, critical thinking and teamwork are to solving problems.”

While the students learn, create and experience the USNA atmosphere, the midshipmen participating are also given some of their first opportunities in leadership.

“We have about 30 midshipmen who are helping to facilitate," said Durkin. “It’s really a win-win as most of them are entering their second year at USNA, and are given some of their first opportunities to be mentors.”

The STEM Center’s annual impact includes the work of 60 faculty and staff members and 300 midshipmen, organizing 70 events. Through approximately 24,000 midshipmen volunteer hours, the STEM Center reaches out to 13,000 Students, 900 teachers and 150 informal educators from across the country. For more information about USNA’s STEM Center, visit: https://www.usna.edu/STEM/index.php

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