Middle school science teachers from Wenatchee, Wash. rolled up their sleeves earlier this year to enhance their approach to engaging students in hands-on engineering. In a training session with Pete Phillips, Executive Director of Technology Service at North Central Educational Service District, local teachers worked to harness solar energy to build solar electric cars. This workshop, which will continue in other communities across Washington throughout the month, is part of Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), a program sponsored by Washington STEM and the Apple STEM Network to cultivate an interest in STEM among middle-schoolers in the fields of alternative fuels, engineering design and aerodynamics. Every teacher who participates in the program returns to the classroom with a ready-to-use kit so students can design, construct and race their own solar cars. Hear more from Phillips and Apple STEM.
Category Archives: News
Working to inspire our next generation of STEM stars, the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) is announcing a new award designed to encourage AEOP program participants and alumni to engage in scientific meetings/technical symposia to showcase their STEM research.
The AEOP’s new Technical Symposia Award is open to all eligible AEOP participants and alumni who have a scholarly paper, poster, or other creative scholarly work that has been accepted for a professional conference to apply for a travel award.
Participation in scientific meetings/technical symposia will expand and enrich current AEOP students’ educational experiences by interacting and networking with STEM professionals in the field, exploring a variety of STEM disciplines and careers, gaining experience in communicating their research accomplishments, and serving as AEOP ambassadors. Additionally, it will provide AEOP alumni to reconnect with AEOP, present their current research or research conducted while with AEOP at technical symposia.
Current AEOP program participants who have a paper, poster, or other STEM-based research/scholarly work that has been accepted for national professional presentation may apply. AEOP research apprenticeship includes Science & Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP), Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP), High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP), College Qualified Leaders (CQL) and Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program (URAP). AEOP alumni may also apply to present their current research or research that they’ve conducted during their participation in AEOP.
Eligible Expenses Include:
- Registration fees for conference or creative exhibition.
- Travel fees: plane fares, train fares, car rental, ground transportation.
- Lodging: up to, but not exceeding, the federal maximum per diem rate (http://www.gsa.gov).
- Food: up to, but not exceeding, the federal per diem rate (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877).
- The award may NOT be used to cover individual membership dues for professional organizations or societies.
For minors under the age of 18, travel expenses (airfare, lodging, food) will be covered for the presenter and one parent/legal guardian.
AEOP’s new Technical Symposia Travel Award will be awarded to program participants and alumni based on the quality of their applications and fulfillment of all eligibility requirements. For more information on how to apply, contact your program director.
|PROGRAM NAME||PROGRAM LEAD
|CAMP INVENTION||Sue Whitsett
|JUNIOR SOLAR SPRINT||Sue King
|JUNIOR SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES SYMPOSIUM||Doris Cousens
Please be prepared to include the following information in the CVENT application tool:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Street address
- If under 18, name of parent/guardian who will be traveling with you.
- Are you currently a student? Yes/No
- If yes, school name.
- If yes, year in school.
- Which AEOP did you participate in?
- Name of mentor
- Email address of mentor
- Letter of support from mentor (upload file)
- Name of conference you wish to attend with this award.
- Location of conference you wish to attend with this award.
- Dates you will attend conference you wish to attend with this award.
- Will you be presenting a paper, poster or an oral session?
- Title of paper, poster or presentation
- Names of co-presenters, if applicable
- In 200 words or less, please describe why attending this conference will help you achieve your professional and/or academic goals.
- Total amount of funds requested:
- Expense summary: Provide an estimate of expenses for presenter and parent/guardian, if applicable. Include airfare, lodging, per diem, ground transportation, and registration (for presenter only).
Open Request for Information (RFI) for Partnership Opportunity with AEOP
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE: The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) through its cooperative agreement (COA) with Battelle is investigating new and innovative ways to form mutually beneficial relationships with likeminded organizations and technical associations that have similar STEM goals, specifically serving students from underserved populations and military dependents. In collaboration with STEM partners and by sharing information, leveraging strong STEM networks, and building on already existing relationships, AEOP intends to promote its portfolio of opportunities to better meet objectives, maximize impact, and provide more enriching STEM opportunities for students.
GEMS and Camp Invention alumnus Khristian Ward received special recognition from President Obama last month for proposing a valuable STEM solution to a problem plaguing thousands of veterans every year.
In his search for Kid Science Advisors, the president recently invited students from around the country to submit STEM projects and inventions. President Obama received more than 2,500 submissions, but selected only 11 of these students, including Khristian, to meet with him personally at the White House as his Kid Science Advisors. A fifth grader from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Khristian proposed creating a brain microchip to help soldiers overcome PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), an idea inspired by his own father’s experience with PTSD after two Army deployments in Iraq. “I want to help him and other soldiers like my dad,” Khristian said. He also submitted an idea for lighter body armor to help soldiers avoid back problems.
While Khristian’s winning submission incorporated military science, his dream is to study aerospace and space exploration. In fact, Khristian visits the Goddard Space Flight Center near his home every month to launch model rockets.
Read all about Khristian’s groundbreaking ideas and his exciting meeting with the Commander-in-Chief! Keep up the great work, Khristian!
Shawn Abraham’s visual impairment doesn’t stop him from learning as much as he can. A junior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD, Abraham used his summer vacation to delve deeper into the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Abraham, who is blind, completed over 200 hours of work at the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) as part of AEOP’s Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP), a summer program that places talented high school students from groups historically under represented and underserved in STEM into research apprenticeships.
Abraham and his REAP mentor, JHU postdoctoral Fellow Kavan Hazeli, Ph.D., had the idea to study different resin composites to substitute what is currently used in tooth cavity fillings, as the current composite attracts bacteria and therefore requires patients to replace fillings. While this was a new field to Abraham, he welcomed the challenge with enthusiasm. Along the way, he discovered a new interest in mechanical engineering. He explained that the ability to study hands-on how different materials behave was particularly meaningful because it is applicable to a real-world challenge. “This experience has exposed me to so many different fields and types of projects in engineering,” said Abraham.
Abraham and Hazeli said creativity was key in their summer research. Over the course of six weeks, Hazeli came up with several creative ways to teach Abraham fundamental science and engineering principals by combining special kits and braille graphs. They wore gloves to feel different materials, and used the University of Maryland dental school laboratory for testing.
“I could only choose two applicants out of 44. Shawn’s statement of purpose clearly indicated a desire to learn,” said Hazeli. As a mechanical engineer, Hazeli believes it’s important to make himself available to whomever is passionate about STEM and research.
Before his experience at HEMI, Abraham, who is also on his school’s wrestling team, had some exposure to advanced science through his physics class, but shared that REAP taught him “so much more” and has played an important part in his desire to become an engineer.
Victor Nakano, Ph.D., HEMI executive program director, applauded both Abraham and Hazeli for their superb collaboration over the summer. “They each truly went the extra mile to make the most out of the apprenticeship.”
For more information about AEOP’s apprenticeship programs, go to www.usaeop.com/programs.
Jonathan Gonzalez, a junior studying mechanical engineering at Auburn University, has spent the past three summers mentoring students from grades 5-12 in STEM with Gains in the Education of Math and Science (GEMS), a STEM-enriching program offered through the Army Educational Outreach Program.
Most recently, as a Near-Peer Mentor (NPM) with GEMS, Gonzales taught students basic concepts of nano-technology. Working at the Fort Rucker, Ala. GEMS site, Gonzales and other NPMs incorporated examples of real-world careers into their projects and invited guest speakers to inspire and motivate students.
The majority of mentors that Gonzales worked with at Fort Rucker went to high school together, making their GEMS mentoring experience even more rewarding—for them and for the students they mentor. “At GEMS, it doesn’t feel like a job,” said Gonzales. “It’s great working with other mentors that share my interest and seeing the students become more passionate about STEM.”
When Gonzales isn’t busy with school work or GEMS, he’s enjoying his love of music. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, a collegiate music fraternity that advances music through community outreach and concerts. Interestingly, he sees some similarity between this outreach and GEMS. In both, he is all about sharing his passion with the hope of inspiring and educating others.
Want to get involved with GEMS or any other AEOP program? Visit our program page: http://www.usaeop.com/programs/.
Big news! We are excited to share that the Army Educational Outreach Program was featured on the Discovery Channel’s NewsWatch for their Tech Report Back to School episode, which aired this morning on TV and online. The AEOP segment features students and mentors across AEOP programs in action, highlighting for a national stage the importance of providing real-world STEM experiences for all.
Watch the clip here, and be sure to share it on social media tagging @USAEOP and using #newswatchtv!
Cary James, a JSHS science teacher in Maine, and Jeffrey Wehr from Washington will be two of the 213 mathematics and science teachers to receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Every year, the White House presents this honor to outstanding K-12 science and math teachers nationwide who have showed exemplary success in ensuring students are equipped with the science and math skills to succeed.
James is the head of the science department at Bangor High School, where he mentors students through JSHS. For the past 17 years, James has taught Advanced Placement, Honors, and Credit Recovery Chemistry classes to 10th–12th grade students. He has received numerous teaching awards throughout his career including the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Teacher of the Year (Maine 2009), Pulp and Paper Foundation Maine Teacher Award (2009), the Francis Crowe Society Honorary Engineering Degree from the University of Maine (2010) and New England Institute of Chemistry Maine State Teacher Award (2011) just to name a few.
Wehr has been a scientist and educator for the past 19 years. He has spent the last 12 years at Odessa High School, where he teaches Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Programming, and Advanced STEM Research Laboratory. Over the course of his career he has earned the Department of Education’s American Star of Teaching Award, the Washington State Regional Teacher of the Year, the National Siemens Founder’s Award for STEM Research, and the National Junior Science and Humanities STEM Research Award.
On September 8, all recipients of this award will gather for a formal award ceremony in Washington, DC. The winners, who were selected by a panel of distinguished and accomplished scientists, mathematicians and educators, will all receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion.
Congratulations, Mr. James and Mr. Wehr!
National JSHS first place winner Paige Brown recently took to the TEDxDirigo stage to discuss her award-winning research and lifelong love of science. Paige, who is a recent graduate of Bangor High School, has spent the past two years collecting and testing water samples from the streams in her hometown for phosphorus and other harmful pollutants. After months of research, she utilized her findings to create a phosphorus-eating filter to help improve the quality of stream water. Beginning this fall, she will attend Stanford University with plans to study chemical engineering.
Watch her fantastic talk about fierce determination, the power of curiosity, and how her high school’s inaugural STEM class inspired her to solve this real-world challenge. Way to go, Paige!
A new report from Change the Equation and the Amgen Foundation shows that students want hands-on opportunities inside and outside of the classroom that will inspire them to explore careers in scientific fields.
Students believe participation in science clubs and more connections with adults in their field of interest would be beneficial to their understanding of STEM careers.
Unfortunately, the study also revealed that most teenagers lack access to the resources and opportunities most critical to developing their lifelong love of science. Lack of access—and lack of role models in STEM—is particularly dire for low-income students.
These findings confirm the value of AEOP’s approach to nurturing students’ interest in STEM and exposing them to STEM careers through hands-on, real-world experiences and mentorship opportunities.
Key findings from the study include:
- Most student respondents believe knowing an adult in their field of interest would be helpful, but only 32 percent actually know an adult in a science-based career.
- Only 33 percent of teenagers have ever been involved in a science club or group, either in or out of school. Involvement from low-income teenagers is especially low, and these students are less likely to be aware of extracurricular science offerings.
- Low-income students have the fewest pathways to science careers. They are less likely to know someone who works in biology (19 percent versus 25 percent of higher-income students) and less likely to have access to career-planning resources.
Want to take action? Tell a friend or student you know about AEOP. You never know, an AEOP program may be just the experience they are looking for.