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Historically black college and university (HBCU) engineering schools have some of the best science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) summer programs nationwide.

They all provide unique opportunities for high school and even middle school students to learn about anything from scratch.

Some run for six weeks, four weeks, three weeks, or a week. Many are offered free, supplemented by funding from federal and state agencies, while others provide tuition, room, and board at a nominal cost.

Whatever the focus is for an HBCU STEM summer camp, students are guaranteed real-life experiences with hands-on experiments in physics, biology, astronomy, Earth science, nanoscience, nanotechnology, data analysis, and teamwork.

The Hechinger Report, which covers inequality and innovation in education, calls summer STEM programs “Pathways to jobs of the future.”

At Tennessee State University, three STEM summer programs covered innovation in engineering, transportation, and drones, which are being put to work everywhere and creating a $100 billion industry according to Goldman Sachs.

This year the Engineering Concepts Institute held a four-week, residential program on the main campus of TSU for graduating high school seniors, who plan to major in engineering disciplines such as architectural, civil, computer science, electrical, or mechanical. Students were exposed to basic principles through industry tours, coursework, and other learning activities to increase their familiarity with engineering.

The National Summer Transportation Institute also ran a four-week, residential program to encourage high school students to consider transportation-related courses of study in their higher education pursuits. Each week covered a different aspect of transportation, Air, Land, and Sea.  Activities for the summer includes hands-on labs, field trips and presentations by various employees of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The Pre-Engineering Program to Stimulate Interest in Engineering, PEPSIE for short, was held July 9 – 13 for rising 9th – 11th-grade students. The one-week commuter program focused on hands-on-projects including product design, manufacturing, robotics, and aeronautics.

According to Tennessee State University (TSU) News Service, last year, PEPSIE students learned how to design and build an app.

“This year, we decided to do something very innovative,” said College of Engineering Dean Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, who’s been recognized nationally for his contributions as a STEM educator. “And so we have a curriculum whereby students learn to fly a drone, as well as build one.”

“It’s estimated there’ll be between 10,000 to 20,000 job opportunities for certified drone pilots over the next several years,” added Hargrove, “and getting kids excited about this at this early age is an opportunity for them to consider.”

TSU News also said the summer drone program was developed by Wendy Jackson-Dowe, a TSU mechanical engineering graduate.

“Drones are going to be so important to the future,” said Jackson-Dowe. “So I thought it would be great to introduce young people to this burgeoning industry by way of a hands-on camp.”

In 2014, JPMorgan Chase announced a commitment of $5 million to help underserved youth obtain the skills necessary to build lasting careers.

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View Comments (2)

Brian DeanJuly 17, 2020
7:46 am

I agree that the key point is what Mel King said: “If we want a society and culture that work for everyone, we need innovation in our relationships along with innovation in the STEM fields and STEM education”. As an educator my worry is to build caring (educational or not) relationships with my students in order to improve

their curiosity and research skills. There are ideas, concepts, and practices in the maker movement that help me to improve the participation of my students in the creation of shared knowledge. I mean the idea of remix, share designs, open tools, the constructionism, the community, the philosophy of DWO, etc. But there are several attitudes that are not helping me at all, for example, the need for the latest super powerful technology gadget as the main concern, the vision of technology like exclusively functional(not poetic) and the focus on the product forgetting that in learning the thing that really matters is the process.

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FionaJuly 17, 2020
7:48 am

That’s an amazing piece of write up for understanding the importance of the Summer Enrichment Program. You have written quite an impressive and well-detailed article for the Summer Enrichment Program aspirants. The points that have been mentioned here will surely help the young lads to start their career journey and enhance
their self-confidence. I was looking for a Summer School Program recommendation for my younger sibling which helps her utilize this summertime as well as follow her passion along. This would of great help to her especially the Evaluation of Three Summer Programs would explain her better the importance of joining a Summer Enrichment Programs.

Thank you so much for putting everything in a detailed manner.

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