The first two summers (2013 & 2014) of Eastern North Carolina STEM (formerly Northampton Summer STEM Program) were housed at Northampton County High School in Conway, North Carolina. Eastern North Carolina STEM was established in 2012 to increase the opportunity for promising students in underachieving districts to engage in STEM fields and to better prepare for rigorous college courses. For two consecutive summers, over 50 students participated in project-based learning courses that aim to strengthen students’ problem solving, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) content skills. We accomplish this by focusing on scholarship, leadership, and community engagement so that our students are able to better advocate for themselves and for the Eastern North Carolina community.
Eastern North Carolina STEM is a rigorous, student-centered program that immerses students in science, technology, engineering, and math courses in a facilitated and collaborative learning environment over the course of a free, three-week program. To date, students have been summatively assessed on their growth in content knowledge, attitudes towards STEM majors/careers, and growth mindset each summer. Students have made significant growth on all math, science, and technology assessment indicators. In addition, students completed 12 websites for local businesses, and the program’s attendance at community night doubled from 50 to well over 100 people between the first and second summers.
During the spring of 2014, the Directors of the Northampton Summer STEM Program were awarded the Teach For America Lindsay Budnick Award for Community Engagement and Impact, as well as the national Symantec Innovation in Teaching Award for their work on Eastern North Carolina STEM. During the summer of 2014, Governor Pat McCrory and NC Representative Leo Daughtry visited the STEM program to support its mission and activities.
In the summer of 2015, ENC STEM co-directors, teachers, and teaching assistant interns (TAs) welcomed 71 Northampton County and KIPP Pride High School students to our two-week in-county STEM enrichment program at Gaston Middle School. Each day, students attended five 65-minute classes in the following subject areas: science, technology, math, and leadership development (there was a double block each day where students would have one subject area twice).
In the summer of 2015, ENC STEM co-directors, teachers, and teaching assistant interns (TAs) welcomed 98 students to our two-week in-county STEM enrichment program at Gaston Middle School. For the first time, students represented middle and high schools from five districts in Eastern North Carolina: Northampton County, KIPP: ENC, Roanoke Rapids Graded Schools, Weldon City (including the Roanoke Valley Early College), and Halifax County. Each day, students attended five 65-minute classes in science, technology, math, and leadership development with a double block like the previous year.
This past summer, ENC STEM co-directors, instructors, teaching assistants, and interns welcomed 118 students to our two-week in-county STEM enrichment program at Northampton County High School. Students represented middle and high schools from five districts in Eastern North Carolina: Northampton County, KIPP: ENC, Roanoke Rapids Graded Schools, Weldon City Schools (including Roanoke Valley Early College), and Halifax County. Each day, students attended four 73-minute classes in the following subject areas: science, technology, math, and leadership development. A new addition to our 2017 summer was a 40-minute team-building class where students developed close connections to a small group of peers. On Thursday, June 22, 2017 and Friday, June 23, 2017, ENC STEM students participated in an Interview Day planned by ENC STEM and the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce. Then, students invited their family, friends, and other community members to attend our fifth annual Community Night on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 where students led their guest groups through project-based problems, celebrated ENC STEM’s rising seniors, and demonstrated the program’s tradition of giving “shout outs.” On Thursday, July 6, 2017, ENC STEM staff members and students took a field trip the the Carolina Outdoor Education Center Challenge Course, and toured the campus of UNC-CH in Chapel Hill, NC. While this was our first year choosing the challenge course at the Carolina OEC, this was our fifth year participating in team-building experiences that challenge students to try something beyond their usual comfort zones. On Friday, July 7, 2017, ENC STEM students selected to attend the third residential week at NCSSM joined their instructors for a full day of teaching and learning at Northampton County High School. This bridge has become instrumental for students and instructors to get to know each other prior to arriving at the NCSSM campus. At the end of the two-week in-county portion, ENC STEM in-county staff reflected on the two-week experience and identified strengths and areas for growth in the future.
During the two weeks at Northampton County High School, students also worked towards earning the opportunity to attend the residential program at the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) in Durham, NC. In order to do so, students had to demonstrate perseverance, collaboration, professionalism, urgency, and curiosity. As part of their team-building class, students scored themselves on these character traits, and also received feedback on how teachers scored them and why. In the end, 65 students attended the ENC STEM Academy portion. While at NCSSM, students participated in one of five week-long courses: Algebra and Statistics, Hearts R Us, Introduction to Cancer, Social Justice, and Modeling with Recursive Functions.