United Way boosts STEM events

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Beaufort County United Way is investing in the next generation of STEM careerists.

The organization handed out two grants last week supporting programs revolving around science, technology, engineering and math: a four-month-long Beaufort County Police Activities Leagues’ STEM after-school program and a Teen Leadership Summit hosted by the East Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America, followed by sharing knowledge gained with Snowden Elementary School students.

The mini-grants represents part of the United Way’s mission to “identify needs in the community and prioritize how funding will be invested to create positive change in Beaufort County,” according to a press release from Sally Love, executive director of Beaufort County United Way.

United Way donated $5,000 to each program.

BCPAL and the Boys & Girls Club are teaming up to offer the after-school program to select club members, along with transportation to BCPAL’s new Aviation, Technology and Fitness Center located at the Washington-Warren Airport. Students will design a vehicle through a CAD software program, create parts using a 3-D printer, build the vehicle and test it in a wind tunnel with the ultimate goal of racing the vehicles, according to the release. Flight is another aspect of the program, as children will be given the chance to take to the air on a plane, further promoting interest in science and technology.

Life and business skills will be the focus of the Boy Scouts’ leadership summit, which will then be used at a series of STEM-related events for students attending S.W. Snowden Elementary’s summertime SPLASH program. United Way is funding this program for a second year, as administrators cited a positive impact: fifth-graders’ science scores improved by 204 percent, and eighth-graders’ by 130 percent in the 2015-16 school year, as compared to the year before.

“Administrators strongly believe that the Scouts’ direct involvement in the afterschool tutoring helped lead to that jump,” the release stated.

The SPLASH program is based on scouting principles with a series of STEM activities planned, including a rocket experiment.

For more information visit www.unitedwaybc.net.