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Home»News»News Releases

Second Annual STEM University “Graduates” Nearly 1,000 Area Scouts

1/7/2014


Perhaps nothing is more popular in education right now than STEM and with good reason. It is estimated that more than 100,000 STEM-related jobs will need to be filled in Missouri by 2018. But degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are lagging and one major factor is the lack of awareness by both students and parents. The Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America is working to change that by offering scores of programs in STEM such as its recent STEM University. Nearly 1,000 area Scouts participated in STEM University held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Dec. 28 and Southeast Missouri State University on Jan.4.

STEM University, now in its second year, is a full day of classes and activities involving subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scouts sit in on sessions about energy, astronomy, medicine, architecture, electronics, oceanography, weather, and more. The day serves as a great way to expose youth to new opportunities and help them develop the STEM skills critical for the competitive world marketplace. 

For Katie, an assistant den leader with Pack 760 in Boone Trails, the program was a big hit with her son, Daniel.
 
“We just had a great day the whole time,” said Katie. “I had no idea what to expect. Each session was really interesting; they were all very different. I know from talking to the boys that the really popular part was the session with the aerospace engineer. He talked about unmanned space crafts and drones. They did a demonstration with a quad copter and they flew that around. After that, I think all of the boys wanted their very own quad copter.”
 
Katie and Daniel brought four other boys from Pack 760 to attend STEM University at UMSL.
 
“It was an opportunity for not just my son, but all of the boys to see the different areas and the different options you can do with a STEM background,” Katie said. “There was an aerospace engineer, a speaker from AT&T, and a detective from the bomb squad. It’s really why I sought this out. I do think it’s important to get the boys energetic and engaged in these types of activities now because it is fun for them and they can grow and learn with it as they get older and hopefully they do choose to pursue a stem-related career. It is important in our household and I think it’s important for a lot of people too.”
 
The pack traveled together to five different sessions throughout the day until the belt loop class where boys could choose between computers or music. Daniel chose music.
 
“We did music because my son is in choir and I thought it would be an interesting topic to talk about,” said Katie. “Something we probably wouldn’t cover in the dens. The volunteer leader that taught the class did a really great job. The boys learned how to conduct music. They conducted it to Star Wars. I think that’s exciting for any boy. It was a fun session.”
 
Despite being just eight-years-old, Daniel already has an interest in science-related activities, but for Katie, finding programs in the areas of science and technology and the like is difficult.
 
“My son is very interested in science so I’m always looking for extra-curricular science activities for him to do,” Katie said. “There is the Science Center and some other places but we have been there and have done all of that. A lot of things cost quite a bit of money too. That is what was nice about STEM U. It was a full day of educational learning for really a minimal cost. I thought the price to attend was really fair.”
 
The STEM program at the Greater St. Louis Area Council has also caught the attention and support of many business and community leaders in the region. Dr. Thomas George, chancellor at UMSL, and John Sondag, president of Missouri AT&T and the council’s STEM chairman, both spoke during the opening ceremonies at the UMSL STEM U. Dr. Ken Dobbins, chancellor at SEMO, led opening ceremonies at SEMO.


Get more information about STEM in the Greater St. Louis Area Council by visiting our STEM page.