Ceremony to highlight accoplishments of youth in summer STEM programs

The public is invited to join Worcester County Economic Development (WCED) and elected officials at the Performing Arts Center in Ocean City on July 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. to recognize the accomplishments of 58 Worcester County middle school, high school, and university students who participated in the WCED Step Up and Reach for the Stars STEM summer programs. During the ceremony, students will discuss their individual and team experiences in one of the three STEM programs and how those experiences may affect their future academic and career goals.

“Step Up and Reach for the Stars offers our youth an invaluable opportunity to connect with local businesses as their future workforce,” WCED Director Merry Mears said. “Employers have the opportunity to recognize and groom local talent, and students receive hands-on experience within organizations they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.”

Summer STEM programs provide students with a platform to learn from professionals and entrepreneurs in their own communities and affords employers the opportunity to home grow their future workforce. The programs engage local students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The two-week Reach for the Stars STEM Camp is an engineering camp focused on robotics, computer programming, and aerospace concepts.

The eight-week STEP UP Internship program provides high school and college students with hands-on work experience in STEM career fields. This program connects Worcester County STEM businesses with their future workforce and allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real life tasks. Internships in 2016 included placements in healthcare settings, IT companies, engineering firms, environmental agencies, and digital media production companies.

The STEM Leadership Cohort, a new program that launched this summer, provided a bridge to students from the camp program to the internship program. Students attended professional development sessions to learn professional “soft skills” and were tasked with assignments from employers to familiarize them with the type of work they may do as interns. 

"The Worcester County Economic Development STEM summer programs are a true continuum, meaning that we are reaching students at three distinct stages of their academic lives to provide a series of experiences that build on one another, first as middle schoolers exploring their interests, high schoolers emerging as leaders, and finally as university students preparing to enter the workforce,” Program Manager Fawn Mete said.

To learn more about the WCED Step Up and Reach for the Stars STEM summer programs, contact WCED at 410-632-3112.