DoD STEM–Supported Summer Academies Introduce Secondary Students to College Life

04 Aug 2022

Sinclair Community College and Central State University team to build clear pathways to university STEM programs

Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) partners Sinclair Community College (SCC) and Central State University (CSU) launched their inaugural summer academies in June with the goal of introducing middle and high school students in the Dayton, Ohio, area to college life, both in general and as it relates to STEM instruction.

Students attending the STEM Academy.

This year, each campus hosted a two-week pilot academy where about 40 students were introduced to a myriad of activities designed to help them be comfortable on college campuses long before they actually attend. Students stayed on campus during the program at CSU.

“Our faculty and community partners aim to inspire student interest in STEM by inviting them to participate in the exciting STEM activities on campus and in nearby laboratories,” said Sarah Heist, program coordinator for STEM Academy at SCC. “We are intentional about making early connections with students traditionally underrepresented in STEM and raising awareness about how one goes about preparing for higher education in STEM fields. We want to get them excited about STEM career possibilities.”

“Our faculty and community partners aim to inspire student interest in STEM by inviting them to participate in the exciting STEM activities on campus and in nearby laboratories.”

Sarah Heist, Program Coordinator for STEM Academy at SCC

In addition to learning about student support services, students met with faculty, researchers and student researchers during visits to the many laboratories on campus, including robotics, mechanical engineering, chemistry, biology and microbiology. Guest speakers included STEM professionals from a regional crime lab as well as bioengineering, computer manufacturing and cybersecurity companies.

With close proximity to the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the program is particularly convenient for military-connected students. This summer’s programs pulled from nine area schools. “Our goal is to get them started at SCC and then provide support to transition to the workforce or transfer to CSU. The possibilities are endless,” said Heist.

Students attending the STEM Academy.

Students attending the STEM Academy.

About Central State University

Central State University (CSU), located in Wilberforce, Ohio, is a regionally accredited 1890 land-grant university with a 134-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research and service. CSU, which has been named Historically Black College and University (HBCU) of the Year by HBCU Digest, fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation and STEM and agriculture curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally.

About DoD STEM and Defense STEM Education Consortium

Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) is a collaborative partnership of STEM-focused organizations dedicated to addressing and prioritizing our nation’s STEM talent. DSEC aims to broaden STEM literacy and develop a diverse and agile workforce with the technical excellence to defend our nation. Through strategic investment in STEM education and outreach activities, the effort will provide students with more exposure to educational and career opportunities as well as DoD research. DSEC is led on behalf of DoD STEM by RTI International.

About Sinclair Community College

Sinclair Community College (SCC) offers more than 300 degree and certificate programs, including specialized and technical areas of study that are in high demand in the Dayton, Ohio, region. It is recognized as a local and national leader in delivering high-quality and affordable higher education. One of the oldest and best-known community colleges in the nation, SCC was founded in 1887 and is a board member of the prestigious League for Innovation in the Community College.