Applicants For County’s STEM Summer Programs Sought

SNOW HILL – Worcester County Economic Development (WCED) is accepting applications for its 2018 STEM Summer Enrichment Programs.

Since 2013, WCED has offered STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer enrichment programs to students ages 12-24 interested in related fields.

“Our program connects local STEM businesses with our future workforce,” WCED Deputy Director Kathryn Gordon said. “We show Worcester County students that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers are available right here in their backyards.”

The summer program is divided into three academic groups – grades 6-8, grades 9-11, and students in 12th-grade, college and graduate school – and gives them the opportunity to learn academic and professional development skills in the STEM field.

The Reach for the Stars STEM Camp is an eight-day computer science and engineering summer program open to students enrolled in grades 6-8 in the 2017-2018 school year. The camp will be lead by engineers from NASA and the private sector, in conjunction with a team of qualified educators, at The Red Doors Community Center on 3rd Street in Ocean City.

Fawn Mete, director at the community center, said the Reach for the Stars STEM Camp will offer students unique opportunities to develop aerospace engineering and computer science skills.

“They will be introduced to coding and learn how to program a Super Mario Brothers style video game from scratch using a computer language that helps them build the skills to program in Java,” she said. “They will visit NASA Wallops Flight facility to participate in hands on projects, fly simulators at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), learn about drone technology, and participate in the engineering design process by creating and testing products at Hardwire LLC.”

There is no cost to participate in the camp, and transportation from centralized points in the county is provided. Camp runs July 16-19 and July 23-26.

The county will also offer a STEM Leadership Cohort for students enrolled in grades 9-11 in the 2017-2018 school year. Participants meet on Thursdays in July for professional development sessions at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, UMES, and Hardwire LLC on a variety of career readiness topics, including resume writing, interview skills, workplace communication, conflict resolution, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Students will receive mentorship from several STEM workforce partners.

Lastly, the county will offer a STEP UP Internship Program for high school seniors, college students, and graduate students. Participants will have opportunities to gain hands-on work experience in healthcare settings, tech companies, engineering firms, environmental science agencies and digital media production companies. Students’ skills and interests will be matched with the needs of the employers. Interns work 100 hours total from June 1 to July 26 and earn $11/hour.

Mete said the three programs expand on skills taught to students within the school system and highlight several local career opportunities awaiting STEM students upon graduating college.

“We want to ‘retain those brains’ on the Eastern Shore, providing them connections and mentorship from local employers while they are still coming home to Worcester County during the summer months so that when they choose where to live after completing their studies they know there are highly skilled and family supporting STEM careers available here at the beach,” she said.

While the application process is competitive, Mete encouraged students who are interested to apply.

“We only have space for 20 campers, 15 high school leaders, and 15 interns,” she said. “We will typically interview more than 60 candidates for the high school and university components of the program.”

Students can apply for the summer STEM programs at until March 31, though early registration is encouraged for top internship placement consideration.

In addition, those interested in internships at NASA Wallops Flight Facility can apply online at until March 1.

For more information on the STEM Summer Enrichment Programs, email Fawn Mete at [email protected].

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.