Edison, NJ - The Metuchen-Edison Branch NAACP and AT&T recently collaborated to run the Students Stepping Into STEM program, a two week career awareness program for high school students who wanted to learn more about different opportunities in STEM fields.
This year’s program included 14 students from Edison, Piscataway, South Plainfield and Sayreville. They were selected for the program based on the essays they submitted, letters of recommendation, and their school transcripts. The program was open to rising freshmen through rising seniors.
"The students were exceptional. Their creativity, teamwork and collaboration makes me feel very hopeful for the next generation. It was my pleasure to work with these highly motivated and bright students," said Program Director Chrystal McArthur.
The program provided hands-on activities such as the construction of a paper tower and the building of an adaptive hand (prosthetic device). The students participated in workshop activities and discussions in diverse fields such as neuroscience (spinal cord injury), public health and coding. They also had the opportunity to visit STEM based companies, including the Keck Spinal Cord Center, and visit colleges, including a tour of the Rutgers University Engineering Department.
Ridhi, a student from Edison High School who particpated in the program said that she was considering pursuing a career in public health based on her experience in the program. "Public Health wasn't something in my mind. Now I know how important it is in my life," she said.
Communications skills, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity were all components of the program. The students had fun while learning, meeting new friends and learning from one another in a supportive environment, said organizers.
The program concluded with each student presenting on an area of interest to family and friends at the Knightbridge facility. Some of the presentations included “The Importance of Educating Girls and Women,” “Careers and Majors in Civil Engineering, Technology and In the Field of Animation,” “Cyber Security,” and “STEM Cell Research”.
"I can confess now that I really didn't want to come to the program but my mother insisted that I apply. I can truly say that I had fun, learned a lot about various areas in STEM and made new friends. The program was awesome!" said Tyler, a Piscataway High School student who participated in the program.