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Adult Education Students Participate in Summer STEM Academy

Students working in a greenhouse

Students enrolled in College and Career Readiness (CCR) programs at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute are getting an in-depth look at science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) this summer through the college’s new STEM Academy.

The STEM Academy is a grant-funded project designed to address the need to better prepare Adult Education students for the GED 2014 and for future careers in STEM areas. The project began in early July and has included classes on campus, as well as off-campus visits to the Family Resource Center, Glen Hilton Park, Redwood Park, Duke Energy’s Energy Explorium, Catawba Science Center and Foothills Community Workshop.

Partnerships have been formed with several CCC&TI Curriculum programs including Landscape Gardening, Electronics Engineering Technology, Biomedical Equipment Technology and Automotive Systems Technology. Students have also enjoyed guest speakers from the community including an engineer, an employee from Google, an EMT and a pharmacist.

Student around a garden

Students in the STEM Academy participate in hands-on activities in areas such as robotics, solar energy, coding, soldering, biology (animal dissection, plant identification, health science), sustainability, chemistry (pH testing, science experiments), math projects, and a culminating STEM Fair to display student projects.

Instructors and Program Directors at the college said that this program will be a benefit to the CCR students as well as curriculum students. For CCC&TI’s Landscape Gardening (LSG) students, the partnership is particularly beneficial. “Debbie Mitchell and Tom Sloop wanted their students to learn conversational Spanish as it relates to Landscape Gardening in order to better prepare them for the workforce,” said Melissa Darling, who is CCC&TI’s English as a Second Language Director. “These two groups alternate between a ‘Spanish for Landscape Gardening’ class and a Landscape Gardening class. Native Spanish speakers from the CCR classes will be available to help teach Spanish while LSG students will be available to help teach LSG concepts and the students will all work together in a garden on campus.”

The project continues through Aug. 14. For more information on this program or College and Career Readiness at CCC&TI, call 828-726-2230.