Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Bowie State University (MD) and observing a near-peer mentoring session made possible by a strong collaborative partnership between the University, the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).
Called the “GEMS Summer Program,” being held in-person this year (between June and August) brings 200+ high school students from various area schools to teach them about STEM.
The Monday to Thursday days are filled with some lectures, exercises, and show-and-tell, but mostly they are structured around learning by doing. During my visit, I witnessed two lessons in action: How does the digestive system work (will spare you the details!) and Building a simple hydraulic device using the Engineering Design Process (EDP). It was 🙌🏼👍🏽
The GEMS summer program is one of the key engagement and recruitment strategies for the ongoing National Science Foundation (NSF) Track 1, Noyce scholarship program awarded to the University.
In Spring, a few BSU STEM education majors completed 3 weeks of intensive training provided by the WRAIR staff so that they can learn, teach, prepare lesson plans, and more importantly, serve as peer-mentors to high school students interested in STEM.
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (the Noyce program) encourages the recruitment and support of STEM majors and professionals of the highest achievement and ability who might otherwise not have considered a career in K-12 teaching. Through multiple tracks, the Noyce program also supports experienced, exemplary STEM teachers to become teacher leaders in high-need school districts, supports professional societies and organizations that are directly associated with educational or research activities to conduct research on the effectiveness and retention of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts and provide ongoing technical assistance to the initiative.
We are the grant evaluators and very proud supporters of NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program. Since 2009, MNA has engaged in evaluating 10 Noyce grants: Planning and capacity building, Tracks 1 and 4 in DC, VA, MA, MD, MS, and TX.
Please enjoy the short slide show below. Many thanks to the BSU staff photographer on site who took these beautiful pictures, the mentors, high school students, the NSF, and the current PI, Dr. Elena Klimova for hosting me.