STEM West Initiatives

  1. Secure and sustain STEM partnerships between education/industries/government/higher education
  2. Develop and implement problem-based curricula/scenarios for K-16 science, math, and CTE courses based on local STEM career opportunities
  3. Foster interest in and introduce students to STEM careers
  4. Provide information to the community regarding STEM career pathways
  5. Establish STEM West organizational governance and sustainability

Impact Summary (March 2016 – August 2019)

  1. Filling the Gap: Partnering with 25+ local STEM businesses, over 45 teachers have created and implemented project based learning (PBL) units engaging 1200+ students in real-world business problems/issues.
  2. Grants received and deployed: Duke Energy Foundation ($175,000), Appalachian Rural Commission ($100,000), Biogen ($5000), and Burroughs Wellcome Fund ($14,000).
  3. Robox Sumo: Train-the-Trainer one-day workshop, funded with Biogen grant, led to 54 adults being trained and over 400 students engaged in engineering robots through after-school clubs, science center events, and scout programs. One teacher, received another grant to expand the program in Lincoln County and the controllers continue to be used for events two-years after the training.
  4.  BetaBox: The mobile STEM lab was set up at the NC Center of Engineering Technologies in partnership with the Committee of 100 and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to host local stakeholders for evaluation. Over 70 students experienced the engineering space to create prototypes to solve everyday problems.
  5.  GEMS (Girls Engaged in Math and Science) Clubs: 70 clubs have been established across the WPCOG/IPDC service areas. Coaches received 4 days of training and $200 for club supplies.
  6. Fairs & Festivals: A STEM West table was set up at the Caldwell County Fair, the Historic Morganton Festival, and the Taylorsville Apple Festival in the fall of 2017 to share STEM Career information with students and parents. In partnership with the NC Bionetwork of Community Colleges, many students and adults made their own DNA necklaces and over 500 community members engaged in discussions of STEM Careers.
  7. EdCamp STEM West: The first STEM related EdCamp was attended by 130+ people interested in STEM Education. Over $1500 in door prizes and food was donated by local businesses. EdCamp STEM West was held again January 20th, 2018.
  8. STEM West organized and hosted training for over 50 teachers across western NC.
  9. GIZMOs Grant: STEM West collaborated with Explore Learning to access estimated $120,000 in services for western NC school districts. These districts received a one-year access to GIZMOS, an online simulation site, and 3 days of training on inquiry instruction.
  10. Computer Science Training: STEM West collaborated with The Friday Institute to host follow-up trainings for the middle school NC Computer Science Pilot at the NC Center of Engineering Technologies.
  11. EXTREME STEM Tour Training: In partnership with Education Matters of CVCC, STEM Tours teams held 2 trainings with participants from 12 different counties. Over 50 community stakeholders learned how to implement their own tours. Additional districts have implemented the tours.
  12. LEGO Equity Grant: Receiving a LEGO Equity grant (approximately $9000 value), 3 schools received WeDo kits, training, materials, and iPad to engage 144 girls in FIRST LEGO League, Jr. Expos to share their learning during the Aqua Challenge. The 3 schools will be participating in 2018-19 in the Moon Mission Challenge.
  13. Sustainability Steps: A STEM West Business Plan and Communication Plan has been written and approved by Advisory Board.
  14. Impact: In less than 2 ½ years, STEM West has impacted almost 5000 students and over 500 educators through teacher training, student events, clubs, etc. Students have participated in STEM units, clubs, and events focused on STEM Careers and/or skills.