The 2019 WCC Ashe STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Academy was held June 17-21, 2019 with 77 middle school students participating. Courses offered included; DNA experiments, computer machining operations, solar energy, a day at the salon, CPR and first aid basics, wacky world of biology, and more.
“Our goal is to offer introductory sessions that will connect young students to programming available to them in their service area and hopefully, spark interest in learning and education. Participation in college activities at an early age gives a sense of empowerment,” stated Becky Greer, WCC Director of Workforce Development, Ashe Campus/Alleghany Center.
The program formerly known as Kids Kollege was enhanced with GEAR UP support to become the STEAM Academy. The Academy, no longer a GEAR UP program, is now supported by private donors who provide a scholarship allowing all students to take one course free of charge. Middle school students are encouraged to take multiple courses to explore career fields and educational programs offered by Wilkes Community College.
“Having students on our college campus early and often, helps them realize they can be successful in post-secondary education. By exposing them to the environment of higher education: meeting instructors in small classes, interacting with students from other schools, and making and designing objects using technology unique to a college, students are better prepared for life after high school,” explains Rebekah Gardner, WCC Career Coach/GEAR UP Coordinator.