The following was originally published by The Press-Republican.
Students from across the Adirondacks took advantage of a rare opportunity to work alongside professors and cadets from West Point as part of an innovative partnership between CFES Brilliant Pathways and the U.S. Military Academy.
West Point STEM Day at Clinton Community College gave 40 students in grades 8-12 from CFES member schools Beekmantown, Ausable Valley, Crown Point and Northern Adirondack a chance to work on robotic modules, build marble-powered computers, play story-driven computer challenges and other STEM-related activities.
“It was both exciting and humbling to participate in this opportunity and to enable students to see some of the exciting opportunities available to them in STEM,” said Col. Diana Loucks, a professor and Director of Advanced Physics at West Point. “To see students and the cadets wrestle with and find solutions to advanced STEM phenomena in such an enjoyable fashion was rewarding beyond words.”
As part of CFES’ commitment to college and career readiness, students took a tour of Clinton Community College, including its state-of-the-art Institute for Advanced Manufacturing facility that serves as a regional hub for manufacturing education.
“The STEM module experiences for our scholars provide an opportunity for our rural students to be exposed to learning they may not normally see,” CFES STEM Coordinator Chris Mazella said. “Clinton Community College hosting the event and sharing the IAM facility and providing a college tour made for a complete day of college and career readiness learning for our scholars.”
Science teachers from the middle and high schools also participated in the activities and took back ideas for hands-on activities and curriculum. “I love how the students were engaged throughout the day,” said Jim Caron, technology and math teacher at Ausable Valley Middle School. “This was a great way of taking hands-on activities and relating them to modern technology.”
The model partnership between CFES and West Point started a decade ago and has exposed over 2,000 students to potential jobs in STEM. Workshops on coding, building circuit boards and learning about careers in STEM have reached students across the country.
“The activities were challenging at first, but it got easier as we worked together,” said Ausable Valley student Maddy Trombley. “And the lunch was great.”