Rosio Montalvo and Kenly Montes were eagerly trying to connect electrical wiring to a light and battery — their mission was to make a physical connection and illuminate the tiny light bulb they had attached to a piece of folded construction paper.
The activity, along with many others, was a small part of the week-long STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camp held in conjunction with Clinton City Schools, Sampson County Schools and Sampson Community College.
The purpose of the camp is to get students exposed to out-of-the-box concepts that are on the brink of a career reality for them. Students going through this camp are rising ninth graders who need to begin looking into their future plans.
“Students are exposed to concepts that are not taught in every classroom on a consistent basis,” Faith Jackson, CCS community liaison and one of the workers of the camp, said. “Students have been provided with the opportunity to gain a better understanding through this STEM camp.”
The camp has allowed students like Rosio and Kenly to learn about coding and robotics through instruction provided by Mary Lynn Warren and Lori Monk, biofuel research through an instructional tour by John Garner, Jeremy Smith and Charles Barrow, technology and farming through instruction by Warren Farms in Newton Grove and electrical engineering.
“I have always had a great interest in coding and robotics,” Rosio, a rising ninth grade student at Sampson Early College, said. “This week has been very fun and educational. A lot of what we have learned, we don’t get the chance to learn it in a classroom. That is my main reason for coming.”
The STEM camp is a collaborative effort between both school systems and the community college. Planning for the camp began in early December with committee members Dr. Paul Hutchins, Janna Bass, Carole Phipps, Becky Lockamy and Jackson working to decide which aspects of learning best fit the camp and its objective.
“This week’s STEM camp, held on the campus of Sampson Community College, has provided students with a unique opportunity to explore concepts in science, technology, engineering and math,” Dr. Stuart Blount, superintendent of Clinton City Schools, said. “We are very fortunate to have the chance to partner with Sampson Community College and Sampson County Schools in offering such a wonderful program for our rising ninth graders.”
For Hobbton High School rising freshman Kenly, the camp was a great avenue for her to explore the different options of career choices that are available in the science, technology and math fields.
“I came here prepared to learn, and I did,” Kenly shared. “This has been a great opportunity. I would highly recommend any student who wants to learn more in the way of science, technology or math attend the STEM camp.”
Acquiring the knowledge both Rosio and Kenly have by attending the camp is exactly why the school systems and college partner to provide the opportunity for students.
“The annual STEM Camp being held this week is another example of the great partnership that the college has with the Sampson County Schools system and the Clinton City Schools system,” Hutchins, SCC president, said. “I am delighted to have the rising ninth graders on our campus this week. The purpose of the STEM camp is to motivate and educate these young men and women in STEM areas and encourage them to prepare in high school for a college education that will prepare them for STEM careers, including some that don’t exist today.”
According to Dr. Eric Bracy, superintendent of Sampson County Schools, STEM camp was a great opportunity and program that allowed the county’s ninth graders a chance to learn about teamwork and partnerships.
“STEM camp has been a great program for our rising ninth graders to participate in,” Bracy said. “I am proud that we are providing our students with such strong educational programs that prepare them to be intellectual as well as creative leaders of tomorrow. Creating this opportunity for students requires teamwork and partnerships, as we need many groups to work together to provide this camp.”
The free camp is made possible through sponsors in the community including Lockamy Tek Insurance, Cape Fear Farm Credit, Prestage Farms, Inc., Clinton-Sampson Rotary Club and Star Communications.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.