Cedar Valley’s Summer Merit Camp a Huge Success

Filed under: Schools |

by Camille Myers
Cedar Valley College 

In 2009 President Obama launched his “Educate to Innovate” Campaign which is a nationwide effort to promote American students to the top of the class in science and math achievement. The president challenged educational agencies, companies, and science and engineering societies to form collaborations that would inspire young people across America to excel in math and science. DCCCD met the challenge with the inception of its STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) Institute. The Institute serves as a catalyst to achieve the primary goal of educating the next generation of engineers, scientists and STEM teachers to help cultivate our future.

This summer Cedar Valley College hosted several Fun While Learning initiatives which offered two exciting technology camps sponsored by the Texas Workforce Commission, Dallas Water Utilities, and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control, specifically designed for middle and high school students to experience a lifetime learning opportunity. Scholarships were awarded for eligible participants who traveled from Desoto, Cedar Hill, Lancaster and Dallas school districts to Cedar Valley College to attend the Hot Bio Bots and Aero Hot Roc Summer Merit Camps where they benefited from working with dedicated college instructors and learned practical uses of the four STEM disciplines.  Sixty-eight students spent a portion of their summer vacation collaborating on ideas and scientific evaluations to create, construct, race and launch biodiesel cars and rockets.

Program participants also had the fortunate opportunity to visit Lockheed Martin, global leaders in the technology world. During this visit, students toured the fascinating facilities, directly interacted with software developers, gained first-hand view of aeronautic equipment and took advantage of the opportunity to network and learn about internships. This type of direct community partnership interaction helped students strengthen and utilize their analytical, interpersonal and critical thinking skills- all necessary for becoming productive citizens of our ever-evolving society.

During Friday’s heavily-attended graduation ceremony Patricia Davis, Cedar Valley’s Chief Community and Resource Development Officer, welcomed guests and reminded students that, “STEM disciplines are necessary in order to compete in today’s and future societies. Yes, it’s hard work but take risks. Taking risks led to big rewards.” Guest Speaker R. Phill Hampton, Operation Leadership Development Program Engineer with Lockheed Martin, presented slide shows and videos showing the students the various career options in the STEM fields, financial data on compensation, and examples of how science, technology, engineering and math are applicable to our daily lives. “STEM is everywhere!” He said, “From the microphone I’m speaking into, to the chairs and tables where you are sitting. The time is now to explore these areas.”

As the ceremony concluded, all of the program participants eagerly joined their CVC instructors, Chris Lusk, Terry Edwards, Michael Johnson and Monroe Mayes as they presented their final projects and competed in team races and rocket launches. Science, technology, engineering and math were visibly palpable as students operated their hand-made rockets and Traxxas radio-controlled race cars, while enthusiastically offering explanations of how and why their creations worked effectively or ineffectively. Chris Lusk, one of the program instructors stated, “Not only did we want the kids to learn; we wanted them to have fun while doing it.” Cedar Valley continues to effectively renovate our communities with innovative programs that will equip citizens who will transform the world.