HAMPTON, NJ — Newton High School alumnae Lauren Alger, now a teacher at the Hampton Township school, secured “an immensely generous donation,” from Thorlabs, allowing her students to participate in a robotics and STEM summer camp program.
The donation made by Alex Cable, founder and president of the Newton based business, allowed Alger to initiate a FIRST Lego League or FFL program. Alger worked with James Hofmann, the Newton High School Robotics team coach to develop the FFL and STEM camp program.
“The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators,” Algers said. “The program engages them in exciting mentor based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, inspire innovation and foster well rounded life skills including self-confidence, communication and leadership.”
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Algers has been working to integrate a district wide science curriculum with the new state mandated Next Generation Science Standards.
“It is my personal passion and professional goal to create opportunities to develop students’ STEM skills at a young age, so every student has the foundational skills to be successful in STEM related endeavors,” Algers said.
For the past three years STEM teacher Dan Wessman and Algers have led a second grade Lego club at McKeown. The program will now be expanded to offer the summer camp for third and fourth grade children, thanks to the donation.
“My ultimate goal is to develop opportunities for students to participate in STEM and robotics activities throughout their elementary school years so they can all develop skills to innovate and a passion for STEM and robotics,” Algers said.
Ultimately Algers hopes to be able to offer an introductory program to kindergarten and first grade students, as well as an FFL Junior Team for third and fourth grade children during the school year.
“I am so eternally grateful for the generous donation from Thorlabs that helped me to get one step closer to achieving this goal for the children at MC Keown,” Algers said.