In today’s economy, a knowledge of the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is essential. In 2011, 20 percent of all jobs in the United States require significant STEM knowledge. If there’s a secret to success in the modern world, it’s getting a jump on STEM education.
ECPI University sponsored Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ STEM Robotics Challenge which took place today at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
The almost 400 students from Virginia Beach schools participating in the STEM Robotics Challenge included Christopher Farms, Landstown, Linkhorn Park, Lynnhaven, Princess Anne, Strawbridge, and Thoroughgood Elementary Schools; Kempsville, Plaza and Virginia Beach Middle Schools; and Bayside, Cox, Green Run, Kellam, Kempsville, Landstown, Ocean Lakes, Princess Anne, Salem, and Tallwood High Schools as well as the Advanced Technology Academy and the Technical and Career Education Center.
In addition to our sponsorship, ECPI University faculty members Lance Blevins and Ed Konowicz (seen in photo) served as judges. There were many bright young people at the event and ECPI was proud to participate!
Like every ECPI University faculty member, Scott Adams is dedicated to helping students reach their potential. Now, through a new program, he is helping teachers do the same. He’s part of a new partnership between ECPI’s Richmond/Moorefield Campus and Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) that helps teachers gain recertification and delivers STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) to the classroom.
Every five years, teachers are required to accumulate a number of recertification points and college credits to maintain their standing. Because teachers must pay for the classes themselves and fit it into their busy schedules, this can be both costly and time consuming. To solve both problems, ECPI took one of its existing classes, Storyboarding for Animation, added specific lab exercises to accommodate teacher needs and created a schedule to fit their work hours, all at a price they could afford.
Former Congressman Steve Gunderson just toured ECPI University’s Virginia Beach campus and came away thoroughly impressed. Appointed president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) earlier this year, Gunderson is conducting a fact-finding tour to collect information on best practices among member institutions.
Said Gunderson following his meeting with faculty and students, “I am going to call my friends at the White House and ask them to tell the President that if he wants to see a university that really approaches STEM education in a meaningful way, that consistently produces graduates with skills desperately needed in today’s economy and effectively serves veterans and people of color, he should come visit ECPI.”
President Obama has made it a priority to support efforts to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). ECPI University President Mark Dreyfus says previous government efforts, while well-intentioned, have failed to focus on what’s really important. “Every bit as important as the curriculum is the method of delivery,” says Dreyfus. “ECPI’s hands-on approach blends knowledge and classroom learning in a way that resonates with all types of learners and produces graduates who can apply that knowledge the moment they enter the workplace.”
With a large skills gap and many unfilled jobs in the nation’s increasingly automated manufacturing sector, many employers are now looking to educators to step forward and help them address a growing problem: with a significant percentage of manufacturing technologists preparing to retire in the next 10 years, who will replace them? Steve Gunderson believes schools like ECPI University have a great deal to offer. He says “we need to change the conversation and set in place a plan to meet America’s skill demands. If we succeed, we will not only heal our ailing economy but re-establish a vibrant middle class.”
The Youth Center of Hampton Roads hosted a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) camp at ECPI for 20 enthusiastic Hampton Roads teens. The five-day program in July introduced students to mobile technology and included an opportunity to learn and develop a web application (APP).
There is a national movement to encourage more students to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. The “Change the Equations” national initiative pledges to create literacy in science, technology, engineering and math as an investment in the nation. One of the goals of the initiative is to inspire student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers to increase success and achievement in school and opportunities for a collegiate education.
“We were really excited about introducing and reinforcing the STEM initiatives to participating youth,” said Paul Dockery, Business Development Specialist for ECPI University. “It was a great partnership to share with the youth the cool aspects of the technology field. These same areas are those that will allow the Hampton Roads community and beyond to remain the technological leader in the marketplace of the 21st century.”
The course, taught by Gerry White, covered beginning Mobile Web APP development. Students learned to design icons and buttons and facilitate the coding to launch their own Mobile Web APP. At the end of the program students created an individual APP to showcase their resume and writing samples with links to their social networks.
The program was through the Youth Career Center of Hampton Road operated by Opportunity Inc., which provides career guidance and workplace readiness skills training to Hampton Roads youth aged 14-21. Area businesses that supported the workshop included ECPI University, STIHL and We Are Titans.