P.S. Jones, BCCC partner to teach STEM careers

Published 7:44 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Seventh- and eighth-graders from P.S. Jones Middle School recently tried their hand at college-level STEM activities.

As part of a partnership between P.S. Jones and Beaufort County Community College, students in Valerie Whitehead’s class were able to work with the college’s 3-D modeling software to create objects that they will then print out using a 3-D printer, according to Matthew Lincoln, lead mechanical engineering instructor.

“My software can do a lot more than what the STEM class had. … Over here, they were able to make anything they wanted,” Lincoln said. “It’s a little more complex, but believe it or not, they got it very quickly.”

He said he has visited Whitehead’s classes in the past, but by coming to BCCC, he hopes the students could see the actual equipment used in the industry and realize the work they are doing now can translate into a career.

Lincoln and Whitehead discussed partnering up when he attended the school’s Career Day last fall.

“A lot of times when you’re in middle school or high school, you’re kind of feeling like you’re just doing it,” Lincoln said. “I think they learned that, ‘Hey, this is a career path.’”


Whitehead said she took her students in two separate groups — seventh and eighth grades — so they would have more hands-on time.

“They got insight into what they need to do to prepare themselves for their careers. It was very beneficial,” Whitehead said.

Lincoln said he is a big supporter of partnerships between the schools, whether it’s exposing students to potential careers or helping high school students take college courses free of charge.

He said he thinks his line of work is important because Beaufort County has a significant manufacturing and industrial economy, and students should be aware of courses available for them to learn these trades.

The community college invites K-12 students to the campus many times during the year to show them the opportunities available in all career paths, Lincoln said.

“They were smiling. They were laughing,” Lincoln said. “My students were out here helping them. I think they liked that. … I think it was just really nice that Mrs. Whitehead was able to organize and bring them out here.”

Whitehead said her students seemed excited about the 3-D modeling activities and have expressed a desire to take related courses as they transition into high school.

“The world is moving fast and furious, and we need to prepare our students for the world they will be living in,” she said. “Most careers (require) some type of technology, and the more we can expose students to (it) today, the more prepared they will be for life.”