Begin with the end in mind: This advice is one of the first things our advising and career staff give new students coming into St. Petersburg College. Before you choose a career option or decide on a degree plan, put a lot of thought into what you want your future to look like after college. Do you plan to continue with graduate school? Where do you want to live? Do you like working with people or enjoy working with projects hands-on? For a group of about 75 young students, grades 7 through 11, these questions came early as they participated in exploratory activities at a STEM camp with SPC’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Building Arts program this summer.
Several groups from Pinellas County Schools, English Language Learners and Junior Achievement had an opportunity to learn more about STEM programs at our Clearwater and Tarpon Springs campuses. The Junior Achievement students were sponsored by CAP and Career Source Pinellas and represented more than five area high schools. Our ELL students were connected to SPC by the existing partnership between the Hispanic Achievement Committee (HAC) at PCS organized by Dr. Natasa Karac and Joseph Benavides, SPC Career Outreach Coordinator and a member of the HAC since 2017. Their four-day summer program was made possible by a supporting sponsorship by Raymond James.
“Allowing young students to realize the power and possibilities capable with STEM is so important for our future,” Biomedical Engineering Technology Faculty Brian Bell said. “These students are excited to learn and it is always amazing to see them engaged in engineering.”
For the younger students, their week included curriculum with hands-on projects in engineering technology. These students designed, built, and explored a host of engineering technology, including:
- Controlled a robotic claw using electrical measurements of their nervous system
- Designed and manufactured sunglasses
- Wrote code and built mini robots
- Used Solidworks to create personalized 3D prints
- Controlled a video game using the electrical signals in the body
“These activities allow their imaginations to open up and begin to think of careers they never knew existed”, said Lara Sharp, Program Director. “We are also able to plant a seed so they begin to see all that SPC has to offer.”