Tidewater Community College worked with community partner Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) to host a weeklong summer camp for youth, ages 11-15, from high schools across Hampton Roads.
Held July 17-21, the purpose of the camp was to foster a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in students and to showcase careers in these fields. Students also learned important lessons from guest speakers and completed hands-on activities throughout the week.
TCC Dean Nancy Prather-Johnson welcomed students and shared about her journey. “As I was growing up, I was considered part of the underrepresented population and underprivileged community. It was summer programs like this one that exposed me to STEM careers at a young age,” she said.
She continued, “I attended a math and science-specific high school for students who were high achievers in the subjects. Although I didn’t continue my pursuit of becoming a computer science engineer, I am now the dean of Computer Science and Business at a community college and that gives me the opportunity to pay it forward and expose kids like me to these growing fields.”
NIWC STEM Lead, Shawn Frazier, believes the partnership with TCC will greatly benefit the youth attending camp. He enjoys hosting it on campus in order to help the students visualize their futures in college and see themselves pursuing their dream careers. He says, “I want to help students to see themselves as that scientist, engineer, mathematician, or whatever it is they want to do. TCC has been a great partner to help me do that.”
This camp provides students the opportunity to participate in interactive projects such as creating and launching their own rockets, as well as coding on a Raspberry Pi computer, which is the technology that is used on the International Space Station.
The program allows campers to experience STEM in a way that differs from what they learn in school. In addition to the opportunity to grow their STEM knowledge, this camp creates a sense of community for STEM students in the Hampton Roads area. Jorden, a camp student, said, “One of my favorite things about camp has been making friends that have the same interests as me.”
Camp instructor, Daron Moore, has been with the NIWC STEM Camp program since it started 12 years ago. He says, “It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to plant the STEM seeds in children’s minds and see where it takes them. You get to see them years later achieving their childhood dreams that began at camp.”
For more information regarding future summer camps, contact Prather-Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.