From July 7 through August 9, 86 students who attend public middle schools in Boston, Cambridge and Lawrence, Mass., participated in science and engineering enrichment at MIT through the five-week Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Summer Institute, a component of the STEM Program offered by the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (OEOP).
Sixteen instructors, all of whom are undergraduates, taught the students in eight subject areas. Rising sixth graders studied biology and algebra, rising seventh graders studied chemistry and physics, rising eighth graders studied probability and statistics and engineering design, and rising ninth graders studied pre-calculus and robotics. The instructors worked closely with expert mentors to prepare their curricula, and academic advisors provided additional student and instructional support.
A primary goal of the program – which is offered free of charge due to generous support from individuals, foundations, corporations and MIT – is to empower local students with the skills and confidence needed for future success in technical careers.
Probability and Statistics Instructor Mia Bernardino, a civil engineering major at Seattle University, values the STEM Program’s focus on students from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds. “I really want to inspire minority students to work in the STEM field,” she says. “There are not many women in the civil engineering field, or engineering in general. I want to be an example for other young women, to show that they can be like me one day and teach others.”
86 middle school students from Boston, Cambridge and Lawrence, Mass., began the 2014 STEM Summer Institute on Wednesday, July 2. During the five-week program, they took courses ranging from algebra to robotics, attended seminars by leaders in science and engineering, and toured MIT labs.
STEM Program Instructor Liliana Almonte (right) discusses her proposed biology curriculum with advisor Cyrus Washington. Instructors met with experienced teachers and subject matter experts to fine tune their curricula. Cyrus is pursuing a graduate degree in Immunology at Harvard Medical School.
Algebra instructors Stephanie Kilponen and Lois Moon create fraction flashcards for their level one students. STEM Program students were divided into four levels based on the grades they will enter in the fall, and each level is further divided into two courses. Level one students, who are rising sixth graders, studied biology and algebra.
Physics instructors Tahmid Rahman, a STEM Program alum, and Hollie O’Brien review curriculum plans with veteran teacher Mike Craig. Tahmid and Hollie’s level two students, who will enter seventh grade in the fall, also studied chemistry.
Clyde Jefferson and his mother flip through the family handbook during orientation on Wednesday, July 2 in the Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT. During the orientation, families prepared for the program and met the instructors and staff.
Level three probability and statistics instructor Mia Bernadino introduces herself to parents and students at the STEM Program Orientation.
In their level two physics course, Doralee Heurtelou, Sitnour Elamin, and Evelyn Reyes build rockets out of plastic bottles and duct tape.
Instructors Holly O’Brien, Tahmid Rahman, and Matt Okabue launch their students’ bottle rockets from Killian Court in front of MIT’s iconic Great Dome.
Level three engineering design students William Harney and Lucia Pan work together to build an electronic car.
As part of the Math Olympics for their level three probability and statistics course, Kathryn Miranda, Shirley Cheung, Calvin Hill, Dennis Mullings, and Angelique Jean-Noel (left to right) toss horseshoes before completing math problems.
Level four student Erika Pun Builds a pre-calculus-based board game in preparation for the 2014 STEM Summer Institute Final Ceremony.
Students of all levels come together to play parachute games outside of Simmons Hall as part of field day on the last day of the 2014 STEM Program.
Level four student Luis Franco (center) test drives his final robotics project at the 2014 STEM Sumer Institute Final Ceremony as level one student Kevin Matos (second from left) and other STEM Program family members look on.
Lead academic advisor Catherine Park (right) introduces level two student Rhocar Constant before his speech at the 2014 STEM Summer Institute Final Ceremony. Each level elected a student speaker to represent their class to tell family members and friends about their experience with the STEM Program this summer.
— Words by Sydney Lester and Nick Holden, photos by Meredith Lawrence