In 2013 the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce created the STEM Inspire Program. “The STEM Inspire Program exposes our young people to different aspects of STEM,” said Brad Hurley, President of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. “We believe this program is a key component of workforce development.”
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is a program designed to promote student achievement and academic excellence through hands-on experimentation and open-ended thinking. Students are encouraged to think beyond challenges placed in front of them by using their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
STEM sessions are available to freshmen in Carroll County at no cost through the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce’s STEM Inspire program. Each high school in Carroll County is allowed to send four students. In 2019, seventeen students were enrolled. They met on six Saturday mornings beginning on February 9 and concluding on April 27.
This program exposes students to some of the best minds in science. Through the years, the demographic has shifted to include more female and minority scientists. The Chamber was fortunate to have two such accomplished women leading STEM this year. Sessions were facilitated alternately by Dr. Carla Thompson and Dr. Letimicia Fears, both from the Center for Science Outreach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Ana-Kate Welsh was the student helper.
Dr. Thompson and Dr. Fears were both very complimentary about the program and the participating students.
Dr. Fears said of her participation in STEM, “I really enjoyed working with these bright young people. These students were engaged and interested in taking their science knowledge to the next level. I think it’s great that the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce cares enough to fill this need for their student community members.”
The classes with Dr. Thompson and Dr. Fears presented learning in various subject matters:
- Learned how electricity flows in a circuit and how to build simple circuits; how to create a robot using a motor.
- Investigated how computers communicate; built binary circuits
- Learned about energy conservation and energy efficiency
- Reviewed the scientific method; discussed and identified macromolecules
- Discussed neuropharmacology and how drugs affect the brain; dissected a sheep’s brain
- Discussed model organisms and ethics in science research; dissected a shark and discussed body systems
Dr. Thompson added, “It’s great to give students an opportunity to investigate various topics that they might not receive at their current high schools.”
STEM students for 2019 were: Shannan Cheney, Aden Hutcherson, Dorianne Johnson, Elizabeth Jordan, Tatym Keymon, Cameron Lowe, Alexis McCarty, Tyler McDaniel, Anya McNeal, Natalie Moore, Paxton Neely, Erin Norman, Sadie O’Brien, Shelby Swinford, Jaden Tucker, Samuel Whitman, and Landon Winchester.
Chamber President Brad Hurley said of the program, “The recruitment and growth of business depend in part on the quality of the workforce. It is crucial for Carroll County to invest in its future with new and innovative education programs in science and technology. In doing so, we position ourselves as an incubator for creative thinking and talented professionals.”
For more information about STEM Inspire, please call the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce at 731-986-4664.