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STEM Education

Summer 2018 STEM Camps at Manchester Community College, NH

Manchester, New Hampshire:

This year at Manchester Community College camps were held for elementary through middle school students. These students had a wonderful opportunity to learn about future STEM careers. These opportunities were available through the college’s Workforce Development Center under the direction of Kristine Dudley WDC director. Students learned about all aspects of STEM careers engineering design using Solidworks, using GCC Laser Engraver/cutters, Motorman Yaskawa Robots, Afinia 3D printers, VEX Robotics, IQ Robotics, and various computer software that helps expose and prepare them for future careers. These week long camps which are low cost and high impact due to the grant funding through Nuts Bolts & Thingamajigs; a division of Fabricators & Manufacturing Association and benefactors such as Fidelity Investments, New Hampshire Joint Engineering Society and Hoyle & Tanner Associates which all contribute funding to keep the cost of camps low. In addition, financial as well as Charitable Contributions and time contributions were provided by Hitchiner Manufacturing, Hoyle & Tanner Associates, Fidelity Investments,, Project Lead the Way, AIRMAR, Marmon Utilities/ Hendrix Wire, Solidscape, Alene Candles, Raytheon, Parker Hannifin- Nichols Airborne Division, BAE Systems, Farm Design, RH Murphy and more.

“There are many benefits both short and long term that result from these camps. Students are teamed up and forced to problem solve, apply all their math and classroom experiences to a real-world problem. The long term benefit is that they can discover a career path, either through an activity, a company tour, or even a presentation from one of our company sponsors. All of these add up to student experience and learning for the future. Many students will attend year to year and although the camp names are the same, the content is different from year to year.” Professor Xydias.

This year there were three robotic camps. They prepared new and existing robotic enthusiasts for the VEX IQ and EDR events for the 2018/2019 season. Two of the camps taught by Professor Dan Larochelle, REC foundation member and MCC Professor held camps in coding and robot building. Professor Frank Xydias taught the EDR camp and together they held small robot demonstrations. In the basement of the college a live field was set up for the 2018/2019 season so students could try out the field. Together Larochelle and Xydias offered tip and tricks as students built robots as well as offered suggestions to starting teams. This information was also shared with parents to help fuel interest in STEM. There are many robotics grants available throughout the state as well was through the REC foundation as well as MCC newly created robotics grants.

The photo is from a tour at Solidscape in Merrimack NH. Many students discovered what opportunities are available and how much engineering is available in the state. Many students were so excited to see this technology that many of them asked for job applications.

Frank Xydias, M.Ed., organizes the summer STEM programs at MCC.  Frank is also the head of the Pre-Engineering Department at Milford, NH CTE center which is where I first met Frank.  For the last 3 years, Frank has been developing a STEM outreach program at Milford HS.  This program invites middle school and elementary school students and their parents to attend “awareness” nights at the CTE center.  While the parents hear presentations from the CTE staff and visiting local business partners, like myself, the students participate in short projects that have been prepared by the high school students.  This is a great learning and mentoring opportunity for all!  We recently published a wonderful story about Frank’s NEW STEM pathway program.  Since I knew Frank organized the summer STEM camps at MCC I mentioned I’d be glad to help out this summer.  Frank is really wonderful about involving his industry and educational partners in his programming.

Related ARTICLE from 2017.