My role in Nexus project is to direct several STEM education and workforce development programs.
What Is STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There’s a huge need to continue or to grow the number of students who get careers in this area and to get them into college programs. And so, we’ve designed these programs for students to get experience, to learn what different STEM careers are, engage them, do research so that we can meet the future job demands in the STEM areas. One of the main activities that we’re doing is doing a solar energy education with students at schools.
So we bring solar kits that show students the advantages, disadvantages of how solar energy works. Recently, we started another program where we have a teacher training program in engineering design, and we use our solar kits for the basis of how to go through the engineering design process. In the end, they have their own solar kit. So, not only can they teach engineering design, but they can also teach about solar energy in their classroom. Another program that we’ve been doing is called SISTEM, Student Interactions with the STEM. We brought in guest speakers from STEM disciplines all throughout the Las Vegas area, talking about different science or engineering careers.
So, we had a lot of partnerships with different businesses and agencies. We are really interested right now in trying to find funding so that we can replicate these programs and get more students who know about STEM careers and who have an interest in engaging in STEM research. So, I feel that these activities, these workforce development, and outreach activities, are really important. Sometimes it takes just one experience to really get a student interested and find that future career path.